|Dr. Mike Marshall's Pitching Coach Services|
April 02, 1985 St. Petersburg Times
Grand Slams--The Sequel:  Cliff Champion Matches March 18 Feat of Saint Leo Teammate, Hitting Two Grand Slams in Same Inning
St. Petersburg Times
April 2, 1985
by Kevin Thomas
SAINT LEO, FL:  You're not going to believe this.  Everyone is skeptical on April 1, but this story is true.  Bizarre, but true.
For the second time this season, and possibly the second time ever on the collegiate or professional level, a Saint Leo college baseball player hit two grand slams in one inning.
Dade City native Cliff Champion performed the spectacular Saturday in St. Petersburgh during the Monarchs' 23-22 loss to Eckerd College.
On March 18, Saint Leo's Phil Ross hit two grand slams in the second inning in a win over Florida A&M.  Ross' effort sent statisticians to the record books, but nothing similar to the feat could be found.
And, now, it's happened again.
"Grand Slams are rare enough," Saint Leo Mike Marshall said.  "Two of them in one inning is unbelievable.  Two by the same guy in the same inning is really a flukey situation."
When Ross hit his slams, the Monarchs were on their way to a 28-8 rout.  Champion's hits, however, were much needed.  The slams capped an 11-run, ninth-inning rally that put Saint Leo ahead 22-21 (Eckerd scored two in the bottom of the ninth for the win.)
"We were down 21-18 with two outs," said Marshall of the second slam.  "That's pretty good clutch hitting."
Champion, a sophomore who plays third base and catches, hit his first slam off a fastball, and well over the 330-foot leftfield fence.  His second slam came off new reliever Bill LeClaire, who delivered an 0-1 knuckleball.  Champion hit it out of left-centerfield (380 feet), again clearing the fence with much to spare.
"I just wanted to hit a line drive," Champion said.  "Coach always says hit a line drive and if it goes over, okay."
The slams were Champion's second and third ever.  His first came during his first time at bat as a Pasco High sophomore.
Against Eckerd Saturday, Champion went 4-for-5, including a double and nine RBI.  Ross wasn't quiet at the plate, either, going 3-for-5 with a home run and three RBI.
Ross leads the Sunshine Conference in both average (.491) and home runs (15).  Champion is near the top in both categories with a .384 average and six home runs.