Duke von Schamann admitted to feeling the nerves on Thursday, a day in advance of his Double-A debut. When he stepped on the mound, however, he was cool and collected -- just like his old man.
"He has given me insight, dealing with the pressure. He gives me advice on how to stay calm in clutch situations; he's been in extremely clutch situations," von Schamman said of his father, former NFL kicker Uwe von Schamann. "If it's a 3-2 [count], two outs, I have to man up and throw it in there. I couldn't be happier to have my dad. He's been a huge help to me. On game days, I am anxious but focused."
Physically -- and mentally -- in the zone, the Dodgers prospect pitched five innings of one-run ball Friday in the Chattanooga Lookouts' 6-5 victory over the Birmingham Barons.
And, oh by the way, the Lookouts celebrated clinching the Southern League North Division second-half title and a postseason berth -- all on their starter's third day with the club.
"This is special," von Schamann said. "The guys have welcomed me to the team."
von Schamann (1-0), a 15th-round pick in this year's Draft out of Texas Tech, held the Barons hitless through four innings before giving up a run on three straight knocks to start the fifth. He threw 34 of 50 pitches for strikes, leaning heavily on his two-seam heater and curveball.
"I was trying to keep the ball low," said von Schamann, who also walked a batter, plunked another and didn't record a strikeout. "I have never experienced Double-A before, so when we got on the board early, that allowed me to stay loose."
The 21-year-old right-hander began his career with two relief appearances at Rookie-level Ogden. He went on to compile a 4-4 record and 3.22 ERA in a dozen starts for Class A Great Lakes. His Southern League promotion was announced Wednesday.
"To be at Double-A, I couldn't ask for any more," said von Schamann, who hopes to pitch twice more in the postseason before shipping off to instructional league, which commences Sept. 16. "I have learned a lot. You have to hit your spots here, the hitters here are really good."
Leadoff man Nick Buss collected three hits, including a pair of doubles, three RBIs and a run scored for Chattanooga, which will face Jackson in the division finals.
Barons starter Simon Castro (6-4) yielded three runs on six hits over three innings. The White Sox's No. 6 prospect made his second start since a demotion from Triple-A Charlotte.