It's called the zone when an athlete is so focused that everything seems to go his or her way.
Lakewood Ranch alum Jonathan Griffin reached that rarified air when he hit five home runs in five consecutive at-bats over two games on May 21 and 22.
Playing for the Double-A Mobile BayBears, an Arizona Diamondbacks affiliate, the 6-foot-6 first baseman did his damage against the Tennessee Smokies in Kodak, Tenn.
Taking a relaxed approach is what set Griffin into his monumental home run streak.
"I just relaxed and focused on not doing too much and really just simplifying things," said Griffin, who went 5-for-6 with seven RBIs in the four-homer game May 21. "It's been paying off for me."
Griffin, who set the single-season and career home run records for State College of Florida in 2008-09, detailed his own account of the home runs following the May 22 game. The streak included some interesting tidbits:
Each home run came on a fastball.
The five homers were off five different pitchers.
After his fourth hom
er, Griffin saluted the opposing fans, who gave him a standing ovation, with a curtain call.
He tied a Southern League record with four homers in a game. (George Kalafatis did it in 1969.)
No MLB player has homered in five straight at-bats. The most recent four consecutive homer streak was by Colorado's Carlos Gonzalez over two games in 2012.
Griffin's home run streak started in the fifth inning of his four-homer game.
The groundwork was laid before the streak occurred with Griffin's first two at-bats in the May 21 game.
"Every time you face a new team, they basically attack you a different way," Griffin said. "And this was the first game of the series, so I wanted to take some pitches and see how they were going to work me. He threw me two fastballs away and hung a curveball that I hit my single on. And then my next AB, he did the same thing. He froze me with a fastball away."
So here's a peek into Griffin's mind when he entered the zone for five home runs in a row:
First home run, fifth inning (May 21) vs. Joel Pinerio:
"My third at-bat, I went up there ... I totally sold out on that fastball away. The first pitch he threw me was a fastball away. And I hit it for my first home run."
Second home run (May 21), sixth inning vs. Austin Kirk:
"They brought in a lefty. I basically proved to myself I could hit the curveball away, I did that in my first AB. I can hit the fastball away; I did that my third AB for the home run. On my fourth AB, I was like 'The only one I haven't proved that I can hit is a middle-in fastball.' Then first pitch was a middle-in fastball and I was ready for it. And that ended up being the second home run."
Third home run (May 21), seventh inning vs. Lendy Castillo:
"The third home run was off a pretty good arm. I believe the guy was throwing mid-90s. I battled to a 2-2 count or 3-2. I was just looking to be short and quick to the ball on that guy. He threw me one, fortunately, up in the zone where I can get my hands extended on."
Fourth home run (May 21), ninth inning vs. Anthony Giansanti:
"I wasn't really sure they were going to come at me after I hit three. ... I took fastball up and away for a ball. And then he threw he it up and away for a strike. And I remember seeing it and almost being like, 'Holy crap, they did it again.' Then I swung and hit it out for my fourth."
Fifth home run (May 22), second inning vs. Corey Black:
"It was a 2-2 count and they threw a fastball away again. I just saw it and reacted."