MESA, Ariz. – The chants in the home dugout started with one out in the ninth inning and the Mesa Solar Sox trailing by two runs in Arizona Fall League action.
Mesa second baseman Nick Allen, Oakland’s No. 6 prospect, could certainly hear it growing louder as he strolled to the plate with the bases loaded against the visiting Glendale Desert Dogs.
“It’s A’s day. It’s A’s day,” his Mesa teammates repeated. “Let’s go Nick! It’s A’s day.”
Allen walked on six pitches to cut the lead to one run, 6-5, and the Solar Sox dugout went crazy.
“We’ve got more A’s coming up! We’ve got more A’s!,” they all screamed.
The Solar Sox certainly did, and they scored four times in the ninth inning, the final run on a double by Alfonso Rivas, Oakland’s 25th-ranked prospect, to rally past the Desert Dogs, 7-6, in walk-off fashion. Oakland’s Greg Deichmann, the club’s No. 17 prospect who homered earlier in the game, followed Allen and preceded Rivas with a sacrifice fly to left field to tie the game at 6.
“There was a vibe in the dugout, and they were just keeping it alive,” said Rivas, who finished 1-for-4 with one RBI. “It’s cool to be part of this team. All of the guys are positive. We are out here to have fun, but we are also here to compete and do the best we can.”
It was a team effort from start to finish but the Solar Sox could not have done it without their “A” game. In all, the A’s prospects combined for five hits and drove in six of their team’s seven runs.
“It was an incredible night, not only for us [A’s], but for everyone,” said Deichmann, who had three hits, including a home run, and drove in four runs. “We just battled back and put ABs together.”
Deichmann put the Solar Sox ahead, 2-0, in the fourth inning with a two-run dinger that also scored Allen. The Desert Dogs scored five runs in the top of the fifth and tacked on another run in the seventh for a four-run cushion. But the last two innings belonged to Mesa.
Deichmann’s third hit of the game, an RBI double in the eighth, cut Glendale’s lead to 6-3 to set up the heroics in the ninth inning.
“I felt good,” Deichmann said. “I just kind of needed to take a step back and breath and just realize we are out here to have fun. Sometimes, we get caught up in the season and what we are playing for. But at the end of the day, we are playing a kid’s game and here to have fun, especially in this league.”
Trailing 6-3, catcher Franklin Torres (Angels) walked to lead off the bottom of the ninth inning for Mesa. One out later, Cleveland’s top prospect Nolan Jones singled and Zack Short, the Cubs’ No. 9 prospect, walked to load the bases. The next batter, Isaac Paredes, Detroit’s No. 5 prospect, also walked, and just like that, the Solar Sox were trailing by only two runs with a trio of Oakland prospects up next and a Mesa dugout coming to life.
“In that situation right there, I’m just looking for a pitch that I can handle,” Rivas said of his game-winning hit. “He left something over the plate 3-2 [count] and I was able to punish it.”