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Fuller Another Key to Sand Gnats Success
Without left-hander James Fuller, the Savannah Sand Gnats may not be on the door step of their first South Atlantic League playoff berth since 1996 and their first half championship since 1994.
Fuller, who spent two years in Brooklyn and followed the majority of his teammates to Savannah, admitted that playing in Savannah allows him to become a more developed pitcher due to the skill and talent level.
"Well the players are a little older and adjusted to better pitching. They are a little more patient at the plate and three or four hitters have a little more pop in their bats," said Fuller who took the ball in Sunday's first half championship- deciding game against the Augusta GreenJackets.
"Pitchers get more experience here. In Brooklyn, it's somewhat of a rookie league so there's a bit of a lack of experience there. Here the pitchers really know how to finish off a batter. They really attack the hitters more here."
While many of his other teammates said the crowd in Brooklyn is a bit hostile, Fuller seems to only recognize the attendance.
"There's a bigger crowd in Brooklyn and that's about it," Fuller said.
Since the start of the season, Fuller has been working hard to make sure he is always on top of his game. While there are some areas that need improvement, Fuller is happy with the team's standings which he has been a significant part of.
Entering Sunday's start, Fuller was 5-2 with a 1.95 ERA and 77 strikeouts in 13 starts (78 1/3 innings pitched). The opposition has hit just .209 off the left-hander and has yet to allow a home run. He ranks sixth in the league in ERA and tied for second in strikeouts only behind teammate Brandon Moore who has 98 strikeouts.
Fuller attributes much of his success by keeping things simple and consistent in his delivery.
"I have to work on trying to get out on top of (my pitches)…I've been throwing more bull pens and working on just finishing it," said Fuller.
"I definitely have some stuff I can improve on; I'm off to the good start and so is the team," said Fuller. "Sometimes I can get a little slow with my tempo and sometimes I don't have the breaking ball that I usually have."
Fuller says his fastball is what has turned him into an elite pitcher. "My biggest strength is my ability to go after hitters…especially with my fastball. I'm not really intimidated by them. I try not to walk to many hitters so that helps me out," said Fuller.
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