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JETHAWKS NOTEBOOK: STEINMANN PLEASED WITH COACHING CHANCE.

Byline: Chris Cocoles Daily News Staff Writer

His baseball playing career might be over at age 24, but when Scott Steinmann was a youngster in Cincinnati, destiny already plotted his future.

``Ever since I was in high school I knew I wanted to be a coach,'' said the newest instructor in the Seattle Mariners organization.

Steinmann, whose claim to fame as a Wisconsin Timber Rattlers catcher in 1997 was playing all nine positions, including -2/3 of an inning on the mound, was approached by Mariners director of player development Benny Looper when the JetHawks needed a temporary coach while Doug Saunders was taking a personal leave of absence.

``I'm happy the organization gave me the opportunity to help some of the younger guys,'' said Steinmann, who's coaching four JetHawks older than he is. It's that kind of intangible that should help Steinmann adjust to a completely different relationship between himself and former teammates.

``I played with a lot of these guys last year. I think they can relate to me. I'd seen those guys for a whole year,'' he said. ``They can really communicate to all the coaching staff.''

``I told him (last year) that I thought he'd be end up a coach someday,'' said JetHawks second baseman Adonis Harrison, a teammate of Steinmann's at Wisconsin last season. ``I just didn't think it would be this soon.''

Steinmann made a believer out of Harrison in his first full day as Saunders' fill-in substitute.

``We were sitting around before the game and (Steinmann) talked to me and he just told me what I was doing in batting practice and what to adjust to. I was swinging too hard,'' said Harrison, who went out and produced a season-high four hits in five plate appearances.

Said third baseman Jason Regan, another former Wisconsin teammate: ``Scott's a really good guy to work with. He knows a lot about the game of baseball.''

Steinmann isn't sure how long he'll stick around with the JetHawks with Saunders due to come back at any time. He'll probably return to the Mariners training facility in Peoria, Ariz. embarking on what he hopes is a long coaching career.

``I still have another year left before (graduating from Miami University in Ohio). I don't know if I want to be a high school teacher and coach or maybe a college coach,'' Steinmann said. ``I always figured (coaching) would be a little later instead of sooner. I'm just fortunate to have this kind of opportunity.''

Stay out of trouble: Patrick Dunham nearly committed a major pitching no-no Wednesday. He had just been staked to a 7-0 bulge at Lake Elsinore on Regan's towering grand slam in the top of the fifth.

Dunham got the first two outs of the bottom of the fifth but loaded the bases on walks to Juan Rodriguez and Jeff Guiel sandwiched between a Freddy Diaz single.

Like Regan, the next Storm hitter David Davalillo could have tilted the momentum back with one swing. But Dunham's first pitch was bounced over to Harrison at second to end Lake Elsinore's lone legitimate threat of the game.

``When some runners got on base, I had to battle through it,'' said Dunham, a winner in five of his last six outings. ``(Regan's grand slam) makes it easier to relax more.''

The rest of Dunham's and the JetHawks' night was more comfortable. Take away the bases-loaded jam and Lake Elsinore put just four other runners on base against Dunham and relievers Lindsay Gulin and Allan Westfall. Just one advanced as far as second as the JetHawks finished off a 10-0 win.

Road warrior: The JetHawks settle in for a nine-game homestand beginning tonight against Bakersfield.

Valuable utility infielder Joel Ramirez hopes Lancaster Municipal Stadium treats him as well as other California League venues have. Through Wednesday, Ramirez was hitting .290 in 19 games. All three of his home runs and six of nine RBI were in road games.

``I hope I can still hit at home,'' said the 24-year-old native of the Dominican Republic.

CAPTION(S):

Box

BOX: JETHAWKS 10, LAKE ELSINORE 0
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:May 22, 1998
Words:683
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