It was a busy day for Eric Filia.Before Filia's Peoria Javelinas defeated the Mesa Solar Sox, 8-2, in the Arizona Fall League championship game on Saturday afternoon, Seattle's No. 24 prospect was recognized for winning the league batting title and received the Dernell Stenson Sportsmanship Award. Then during the game,
It was a busy day for Eric Filia.
Before Filia's Peoria Javelinas defeated the Mesa Solar Sox, 8-2, in the Arizona Fall League championship game on Saturday afternoon, Seattle's No. 24 prospect was recognized for winning the league batting title and received the Dernell Stenson Sportsmanship Award. Then during the game, the 25-year-old outfielder flashed the leather, making two outstanding defensive plays.
:: 2017 Arizona Fall League championship game coverage ::
Filia was one of six players (one from each team) to be nominated for the award. Glendale's Danny Mendick (White Sox), Mesa's Kelvin Gutierrez (Nationals), Salt River's Monte Harrison (Brewers), Scottsdale's Tyler Beede (Giants) and Surprise's Nicky Lopez (Royals) were also nominated.
The Stenson Sportsmanship Award was created in 2004 in memory of former AFL player Dernell Stenson, who died the previous year during the Fall League season.
The award is presented annually to the player who best exemplifies Stenson's character on and off the field: unselfishness, hard work and leadership.
"It's a true honor," Filia said. "Any single one of us could've been selected for this award. I'm very humbled and honored that I got this award."
Filia finished the Fall League as the circuit's batting champion with a .408 average, in addition to leading the league in on-base percentage (.483) and hits (31). He also finished second in triples (4) and third in slugging percentage (.605) .
Despite Filia's juggernaut of a season at the dish, it was his defense that stood out in the championship game in front of 3,255 fans.
After baseball's No. 2 overall prospectVictor Robles robbed Filia of an extra-base hit in the first inning, the right fielder responded with his own gem. His diving catch stranded two runners, eliminating Mesa's offensive threat in the second.
Filia continued to show off his defense in the top of the seventh when he hit the wall while taking away an extra-base hit from Astros top prospect Kyle Tucker.
The father of 3-month-old twins said sleep doesn't come easy, but it hasn't affected his performance or demeanor.
The former UCLA Bruin said he credits his success this season to his fiancée and all of his teammates.
"She helps me out a lot, especially with the sport," Filia said. "I have my little ones out here and it's tough with the nights I get no sleep; she's helped me a lot with getting rest.
"On the baseball side, I have to give credit to my teammates also; I couldn't have done it without them."
Filia is the first Peoria Javelina player to be named the winner of the Dernell Stenson Award since Russ Mitchell won it in 2009.
Below is the complete list of Stenson award winners:
2017 -- Eric Filia (Mariners), OF, Peoria Javelinas
2016 -- Austin Nola (Marlins), C, Mesa Solar Sox
2015 -- Yadiel Rivera (Brewers), SS, Surprise Saguaros
2014 -- Patrick Kivlehan (Mariners), 3B, Surprise Saguaros
2013 -- Garin Cecchini (Red Sox), 3B, Surprise Saguaros
2012 -- Cole Kimball (Nationals), RHP, Salt River Rafters
2011 -- Kevin Mattison (Marlins), OF, Surprise Saguaros
2010 -- Steve Lombardozzi (Nationals), IF, Scottsdale Scorpions
2009 -- Russ Mitchell (Dodgers), 1B, Peoria Javelinas
2008 -- Jason Donald (Phillies), IF, Mesa Solar Sox
2007 -- Samuel Fuld (Cubs), OF, Mesa Solar Sox
2006 -- Kevin Frandsen (Giants), IF, Scottsdale Scorpions
2005 -- Andre Ethier (Athletics), OF, Phoenix Desert Dogs
2004 -- Mark Teahen (Royals), 3B, Phoenix Desert Dogs
Perry Cohen is a 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.