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Newsom saves ninth in as many tries as Aeros top Thunder

By sstorm Published: May 10, 2008

Longevity records in Double-A baseball aren't usually much cause for celebration.

For, racking up numbers in the mid-level of baseball often indicates a player is staying in one place too long.

But becoming the Aeros career saves leader earlier this week didn't bother Aeros closer Randy Newsom one bit.

"Actually, I think it's pretty cool,'' said Newsom, who set the franchise mark of 25 saves in the Aeros 3-2 win over rival Altoona Wednesday. "Having your name in the record book for something positive has to be considered an honor.''

It helps that Newsom has climbed to the top of the charts in less than a full season with the Aeros - beginning last year when he joined the team after a promotion from high Class-A Kinston.

The 26-year old recorded 18 saves for Akron in his debut, helping lead the team to the Eastern League Championship Series.

This year Newsom began the season with the Aeros, and has gone a perfect nine-for-nine in save opportunities. His most recent secured Saturday's 3-1 win over Northern-Division leading Trenton, as he moved into sole possession of second place in saves in the Eastern League behind Bowie's Julio Manon (10).

Part of the reason Newsom has managed to achieve the high-water mark so quickly is that the parent-club Indians don't necessarily groom relievers to be closers in the major leagues. Often, closing at the minor leagues falls to a couple guys at one time.

But being a side-arming right-hander who pitches to contact is most effective in short outings, thus a closing role is a good match for the Cincinnati native who graduated from Tufts.

"Saves are a team thing,'' said Newsom, who is 1-0 with a tidy 1.32 ERA in 14 appearances. "I don't think people realize that, but they really are - especially when you've got a contact guy like me on the mound. I couldn't do what I do without a solid group behind me.''

Now entering his fifth pro season, Newsom was originally signed by the Boston Red Sox as a non-drafted free agent. In 2006, he became property of the Cleveland Indians as the player to be named later in the Coco Crisp deal.

"Randy has been nothing but outstanding since he's been with us,'' Aeros manager Mike Sarbaugh said. "Aside from doing his thing on the mound, he's just a great guy to have in the clubhouse helping lead this team.''

Newsom's positive and upbeat attitude seems to rub off on everyone he comes in contact with. In addition to being a team leader by action, he's also a calming influence on this season's predominantly young club that has already had its share of struggles this season.

"We'll come around,'' he said. "We're young, but we're also too talented of a team to struggle like this all season.''

Unfortunately for the Aeros, just as the team's young starting pitchers appear to be finding their groove, the team's offense has gone into hibernation. In their the last four games entering Saturday, the Aeros have managed just six runs.

"Mark my words, things will turn around,'' Newsom said. "I can tell by the way guys are reacting, the way guys play. When something bad happens, they don't go, 'Here we go again.' They just go and get after it.


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