Roemon Fields stood on first base, already knowing what he was going to do. He knew Ben Lively's leg kick. He knew exactly when he was taking off. He knew he'd make it to second.
Fields has mastered the art of stealing bases for Buffalo. His seventh-inning swipe was his league-leading 34th of the year for the Bisons, who lead the league with 113 stolen bases. More than 30 percent of those are from the No. 9 hitter, who also boasts the highest batting average on the team.
Even though the Bisons will play spoiler for the remaining 29 games of the season, Fields has a chance to round out arguably the best season of anyone on the roster. The lefty will take aim at history on the basepaths, and he'll probably get there since he's only eight thefts away from breaking Tony Womack's single-season record of 41 steals.
On Saturday, Fields didn't just wreak havoc on the bases again. In addition to tallying another steal, he went 3-for-4 with a trio of singles and a pair of RBIs. The fifth-place Bisons (49-64) topped Lehigh Valley (67-46), 6-4, for their fourth consecutive win.
"Roe's having a pretty good year," Bisons manager Bobby Meacham said. "Every time we put him up at the top (of the order), I think he starts to think too much like a leadoff hitter in my opinion. I think he's best suited for being down in the nine hole, drives in a lot of runs and gets a lot of chances down there.
"Sometimes leadoff hitters have a tendency to take too many pitches and get themselves in a hole and I don't think that's the kind of hitter he is."
Fields' team-leading .309 average lends itself well to his strong suit of swiping bags since he gets on base the most out of anyone on the team. His .366 on-base percentage is the highest of anyone currently on the Bisons roster who has played in at least eight games with the team.
Fields has recorded hits in seven of his last eight games and stolen a base in seven straight contests. He currently sits tied for sixth with Greg Tubbs (1991) on the Bisons' all-time steals list. In order to break Womack's record, Fields has to steal one base approximately every three and a half games the rest of the season. Since being caught stealing in his only attempt on July 28 against Louisville, Fields has gone 7-for-7 swiping second.
"Honestly I just look at (the pitcher) before the game and if I see the leg go up a little slow, I'm out," Fields said. "Honestly I'm just trying to get to second to get to scoring position, let guys hit me in."
But from what Meacham sees behind closed doors, it's a far more intricate process than just glancing at the pitcher's delivery upon reaching first.
"He studies the pitchers every time we get video of 'em," Meacham said. "He studies 'em every single day, writes down what he sees the day before from the relievers and from the guys we'll be seeing. If we were to play these guys next week, he would know exactly what to look for because he's studying them, he's prepared. He goes into each game with a plan on 'If I get on, I know what I'm gonna do.'"
Earlier in the season, especially during the Bisons' abysmal months of June and July, Meacham harped on his team not delivering the timely hit, or getting those hits when runners weren't in scoring position.
Now both are coming together, thanks in part to Fields, who continues to be a menace at the plate and on the bases.
"They're holding him on tight, they're slidestepping, they're trying everything they can He's still stealing bases, so it's just a testament to how hard he works," Meacham said. "It speaks volumes to being as good as he is at what he does."