Monday 20th November, 2017
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Dodgers' Diaz, Peters, Smith impress in AFL

MLB.com - Tuesday 14th November, 2017

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- It was a group effort from Los Angeles Dodgers prospects on Monday afternoon at Camelback Ranch Stadium.

Outfielders Yusniel Diaz, the Dodgers' No. 5 prospect, and DJ Peters (No. 17) helped lead the offensive effort for Glendale along with catcher Will Smith (No. 8) as the Desert Dogs eased past the Mesa Solar Sox, 10-3.

- Gameday

Smith came in having recorded a hit in seven of his last nine games and was able to keep things going with a 2-for-2 effort at the plate with two RBIs, the first coming in the second inning.

"I've been seeing it well and putting together good at-bats," Smith said about his performance over the past 10 games. "My confidence is pretty high right now so it makes it a little easier to be able to get some knocks in."

The 22-year-old hit .232 in 72 games at High-A Rancho Cucamonga with 11 home runs and 43 RBIs before advancing to Double-A Tulsa. Known more for his athleticism and throwing ability behind the plate, Smith appeared in just one game for the Drillers before going down with an injury.

Coming into Monday's game, Smith was batting .339 with a homer and 11 RBIs. His goal for what he hoped to gain from the AFL was fairly simple from the beginning.

"For me it was about getting those lost at-bats that I missed during the season. Getting those swings in and then being able to get more games in behind the plate," Smith said. "Really just getting more experience playing against some of the best guys in the Minors."

Pirates infielder Mitchell Tolman belted a three-run homer that scored Smith, and Peters followed with his own shot on the next pitch from Mesa starter Kyle McGowin (Nationals).

After going 3-for-5 in his last game, @Pirates prospect Mitchell Tolman belts this 3-run shot in his 1st AB today, his 1st @MLBazFallLeague homer. Gameday:65533;65533;https://t.co/4dXGSuOJSU pic.twitter.com/PQGrlLY1SX

- MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) November 13, 2017

It was the third home run in as many games for Peters, who finished 1-for-5 on the day.

Diaz and Smith both singled in runs in the third inning as the Desert Dogs put up another five-spot on the Solar Sox. Diaz finished the day 3-for-5 with two doubles and an RBI.

The three Dodgers combined for six of Glendale's 13 hits and went 6-for-12 at the plate.

"It's been a lot of fun playing with these guys," Smith said. "Everyone in the clubhouse, not just the guys from the Dodgers, but the guys from the other organizations have been great to be around."

Another member of the Dodgers, Anthony Sopko, got the start for Glendale and went four innings, allowing just three hits while striking out two. He earned his second win of the AFL season.

Eight of nine starters recorded a hit for Glendale with Tolman driving in four and Zach Green (Phillies) chipping in with a 2-for-4 day at the plate with an RBI.

With the win, Glendale improves to 13-14 while Mesa dropped to 15-11, but on Tuesday the Solar Sox will look to clinch their spot in the Fall League championship game on Saturday.

Eddie Poe is a graduate journalism student at Arizona State University. This story is part of a partnership between MLB.com and ASU's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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