Donovan notches walk-off hit for Desert Dogs

November 15th, 2021

GLENDALE, Ariz, -- Cardinals infielder loves to collect hits, but his misses have a special place in his heart too.

The club’s No. 17 prospect gives all of his broken bats to his father.

“We don’t know what we are going to do with them yet, but they always go back to Pops,” Donovan said.

On Monday, Donovan hit a walk-off single to center field off San Diego lefty Tom Cosgrove with two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning to propel the Glendale Desert Dogs to a 2-1 victory against the Peoria Javelinas at Camelback Ranch. The infielder broke his bat on the base hit and never let the lumber out of his sight.

This one was going back home.

“I figured they were playing matchups because they brought in the lefty,” said Donovan, who finished 2-for-4. “I had a couple of at-bats against him in the Fall League, so I was looking for the breaking ball and I got it. I was telling myself, ‘Don’t be late.’ I got it a little off the end, but it snuck through the middle.”

Center fielder Pedro Leon, Houston’s No. 2 prospect, led off the bottom of the final inning with a single. He advanced to third one out later on a double by 14th-ranked Dodgers shortstop Jacob Amaya. Chicago White Sox outfielder Yoelqui Cespedes, the No. 2 White Sox prospect struck out swinging to set up Donovan’s heroics on the very first pitch he saw.

Leon motored home from third on Donovan’s base hit and the resulting celebration was one to remember.

“I got punched in the face at some point and I got a cooler dumped on me so I’m cold and little beaten up,” Donovan said with a smile. “But it was fun.”

It was a splendid afternoon for Cardinals prospects. Andre Pallante, the club’s No. 30 prospect, allowed only one hit in four shutout innings to lower his AFL ERA to 1.29. Right fielder Juan Yepez, No. 26, was hit in the helmet by a pitch in the second and was unfazed by it. He doubled and eventually scored on a single by Leon to put the Desert Dogs up, 1-0.

“I think the future is bright for us,” Donovan said. “We just have to continue to do things the right way. The [Cardinals] have laid it out for us and we just have to keep the foot on the gas.”

Glendale’s pitching staff made the lead last until the top of the sixth, when Peoria shortstop Bryson Stott, Philadelphia’s No. 2 prospect, scored on a sacrifice fly by Atlanta’s Drew Lugbauer to tie the game, 1-1. The Javelinas also received solid pitching performances by James McArthur (Phillies), Indigo Diaz (ATL 21), and Jose Quezada (Padres), but their outings were overshadowed by Donovan and his teammates.

“This is a great group,” Donovan said. “Everyone has fun, and everyone plays hard. Hopefully, we can keep going a little bit. We got a couple more games to make a run at it."