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Lee's Posey -- Sam, not Buster -- appears on ESPN after 4-home run performance

Photo by Danny Aller

Photo by Danny Aller

VALDOSTA -- Reigning NL Rookie of the Year and Lee County native Buster Posey hit 18 home runs last year in his first season with the San Francisco Giants.

His younger sister Sam? Well, she smacked four -- four, that is, this week -- and all in one game.

"I've hit two home runs in one day, but never two in one game, much less three in one game," Sam told the Valdosta Daily Times after Monday's doubleheader sweep of Albany State. "That's pretty cool."

Buster thought so, too.

"She's always been a good athlete," he told mlb.com. "She was a good basketball player in high school, a good softball player and she can hit a golf ball a long way (about 200 yards). And she runs well. She's a competitive person, and I'm happy for her."

Her 4 HRs, a record-setting day for VSU, earned her an appearance on ESPN's morning talk show, "First Take," on Thursday -- and that had folks around Leesburg buzzing.

"I'm out here working with three of my softball players right now and that's all anyone's been talking about the last couple of days," said Lee County head softball coach Lynn Avery, who coached Sam -- The Herald's 2007 Player of the Year -- all four seasons when she was a member of the Lady Trojans. "It's pretty cool. I read about it on Facebook the next day after it happened. She and I are friends on there, and she posted something about it and I asked her, 'Wait ... you hit four out in one game?' And she said, 'Yes, maam.' But she didn't even tell me it was for the cycle. That was just unbelievable."

That's right, Sam, a VSU junior, didn't just hit four home runs Monday, she sent the balls over the fence one after another in the rarest of fashions: In Game 2, she hit a grand slam, a three-run homer and a solo homer, and in the first game she hit a two-run bomb.

"That has never been done in my career from any kid," VSU coach Thomas Macera told The Times. "That's huge. Unbelievable. Big time."

Albany State coach Robert Skinner, whose Lady Rams were on the wrong end of Sam's huge day, said Thursday that Sam was simply an "awesome, complete player."

"Four in one day is amazing. One of our players, (freshman) Chaconna Marks, had three in one game earlier this year -- a grand slam, a two-run and a solo -- but four in one day is really something," Skinner said. "The Posey girl is just an awesome, complete player. She's outstanding. She's very good defensively, doesn't make mistakes, she's just steady at the plate and very disciplined. She did a great job against us."

Sam, who stole 10 bases, hit .422 with 20 RBI, seven doubles, a triple and three home runs her senior year at Lee County, has a team-high .468 batting average, with eight home runs this year at Valdosta State to go along with a .909 slugging percentage.

"It really doesn't surprise me," Avery said. "She hit the ball pretty well when she played for me and I know those weight programs they have the girls doing now (in college) have made a big difference. She told me the other day that they get up at 5:30 a.m. almost every day (during softball season) and they're either running, or lifting weights or swimming. And she doesn't mind it at all. She likes the hard work because she wants to win. That's why she came to Valdosta State -- her goal is to win a national championship."

Sam, who spent two years at Gulf Coast Community College before transferring to VSU this season, has the Lady Blazers -- the No. 4-ranked team in the nation -- primed for such a run. They're 31-6 overall, 16-5 in the Gulf South Conference and have won eight games in a row.

Sam, who returned just a few weeks ago from a broken foot she suffered in February -- an injury doctors thought would've kept her much longer than it did -- said after the feat that she just "felt really good" that day at the plate. And like her famously modest and humble older brother, she even admitted she had no idea what she'd just done, or how big a deal it was.

"I did not know that," Sam told The Times when she found out she'd hit for the cycle, finishing the day 5-for-7 with 11 RBI. "That's pretty cool. I felt really good. You go in the box and sometimes you're really comfortable. That's when I know I'm going to hit. I felt really comfortable in the box."

When asked if she'd be bragging to Buster about her big day, Sam said she wanted to, but would rather wait for word to spread to the West Coast and let him reach out to her.

After all, Buster not only won NL Rookie of the Year in his first season in San Fran, but he led the Giants to the World Series title -- and Sam, along with many, many others, has undoubtedly heaped praise on Buster every step of the way.

"Hopefully he'll catch wind of my day," she said shortly after the win Monday, before adding with a laugh: "I know mine won't be on ESPN, like his would. Hopefully my mom will send him a text or something. He's been stealing my thunder a bit."

Yet, by Wednesday afternoon, that thunder was officially stolen right back. Sam's feat not only made it on ESPN's Sportscenter, appearing multiple times during its regular cycle of shows, but was interviewed live from Valdosta on Thursday morning at 10 a.m. by ESPN's Dana Jacobson, during which she relived her amazing day.

Avery said Thursday afternoon that she missed the ESPN interview, but planned to go home that evening and try to find it online.

"I've seen her's and Buster's pictures side-by-side on ESPN and Yahoo all day since they started talking about it. And it's just a cool thing. We're all real proud of her," Avery said. "It's great for her, great for Lee County and great for Valdosta."

Only 15 players in Major League Baseball history have hit four runs in a game, the first of which was the Boston Beaneaters' Bobby Lowe in 1894, while the last of which was recently retired Carlos Delgado for the Tampa Bay Rays in 2003. The same feat has been accomplished in college softball before, but it's not known how many times.

Sam and Buster, of course, are not the only Poseys to shine on the diamond. Older brother Jack is a standout infielder/pitcher at Florida State and the youngest Posey, Jess, has been a star for Lee County ever since his freshman year, although he's missed most of his junior season with a back injury.

"I've always tried to make a name for myself, even though Buster has done a good job for us," Sam told CBS' WCTV in Tallahassee, Fla. "I try to do my own part, too, as all my brothers try to do that. My friends were my brothers. All three of them. We were together all the time and all we did way was play ball. We grew up at the baseball field and if we weren't at the baseball field we were in the front yard playing whiffleball or something. That's all we did."

Although when asked who was the best Posey playing right now, Sam tried to weasel out of the question.

"No comment," she said with a smile. "I'm not even going to go there."

Although, in an October story last year by the San Francisco Chronicle that was profiling Buster and the Posey family, Sam's father Demp shed some light on that often-debated topic around the household.

"I still think Sam is the most athletic of them," Demp said. "She has the most tools."

Valdosta State returns to action today when it hosts Alabama-Huntsville in a doubleheader beginning at 3 p.m.

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Information from The Valdosta Daily times, mlb.com, the San Francisco Chronicle and WCTV-CBS was used in this report