Standing 6 feet tall and weighing 235 pounds, Franklin junior Todd Pinson sometimes looks like a man among boys on the diamond.
Yesterday against host Randallstown, he proved he also can hit like one.
Pinson's 3-for-3 effort with two RBIs helped the 11th-ranked Indians to a 7-4 win over the No. 8 Rams to give Franklin sole possession of second place in the Baltimore County 3A-4A League.
But it was one mighty blow leading off the third inning that propelled the imposing cleanup hitter into the annals of local long-ball history.
Pinson -- who transferred from Randallstown two weeks into the school year -- caught up with Brian Ward's inside fastball and walloped it an estimated 440 feet into a neighboring yard, becoming the first player ever to clear Randallstown's left-field fence in a high school game.
"It's absolutely the best ball I've ever hit," said Pinson of his fifth home run of the season.
"I didn't think it was over. I thought maybe it would bang off the fence, but I ran to first and my coach yelled, 'It's over.' That was just the greatest feeling."
He said the fact that it came against his former team also made it special. The bases-empty shot gave Franklin (8-1 overall and in the league) a 3-0 lead, which it later would increase to 6-0 before nearly letting it slip away late.
Starter Chris Demetrakis allowed just one hit over the first five innings, but then began to tire. When he did, the Rams were
there to pounce, scoring four runs in the sixth on David Blank's bases-loaded walk and consecutive RBI singles by Ra'mie Ray and Ward to make it 6-4.
But that was as close as it would get, as reliever Mike Trott, after a shaky start, settled down to pick up the save.
Randallstown (6-2, 6-2) left nine men in scoring position, and coach Dave Wright said that his team's inability to hit in the clutch cost it the game.
"We left a lot of men on base," said Wright, whose team has lost two games in as many days. "We're just in a slump."
But just as the Rams are slumping, the Indians seem to be peaking. The victory not only helped them atone for their only loss of the season, against the Rams, but left them just a game behind Perry Hall.
After an 11-8 record a year ago, Franklin coach Chick Vrany said one of the biggest reasons for this season's success has been his big man in the middle of the lineup.
"He's really solidified the middle of our order," said Vrany. "We've had guys who can get on base, but he's a really big stick. He brings a lot of desire to the game."
In his first at-bat yesterday, with the bases loaded, Pinson got a hold of a fastball and hit it home-run distance, but had to settle for a long sacrifice fly to center field.
He said that by his next time up, he was anxious to get another pitch in the same vicinity.
"I knew the book on him. I knew he was trying to pump fastballs on the inside," Pinson said. "He didn't think I could turn on him. I guess I can."