SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Nationals players took center stage in the Arizona Fall League on Wednesday as two of their top prospects, Victor Robles and Taylor Gushue, both delivered in a big inning for the Solar Sox.Despite the beginning of the game leaning in favor of the Surprise Saguaros, Mesa was
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Nationals players took center stage in the Arizona Fall League on Wednesday as two of their top prospects, Victor Robles and Taylor Gushue, both delivered in a big inning for the Solar Sox.
Despite the beginning of the game leaning in favor of the Surprise Saguaros, Mesa was able to close things out, 8-5, thanks to a five-run eighth.
The Solar Sox were held to one run through the first seven innings, but Gushue kicked off what would be a five-run eighth with a homer to left-center field."
"They do say hitting is contagious," the Nationals' No. 23 prospect said. "Glad I was able to put a good at-bat together and help the team win today. That was fun."
Gushue spent the majority of 2017 with Class A Advanced Potomac before heading to Arizona to play in the Fall League.
"I'm loving being out west; it's a lot different from the east coast, which I'm used to," he said. "It's a lot different playing baseball out here. I love it, you get to wear the big league uniforms so it's a blast."
Robles added the second homer of the game later in the frame, a three-run shot, which also went out to left-center field. The Nationals' top prospect and No. 2 overall, Robles' strong Minor League season resulted in a September callup and a spot on Washington's NLDS roster. Now in the Fall League, the 20-year-old is using his short time in Arizona to keep improving his all-around game.
"In the little time that I've been here it's been a great experience," he said. "I'm learning a lot and I'm excited to be here."
Robles denies any friendly competition between the two Nationals teammates, but he says he was just trying to do the best that he could to get more runs on the board for his team.
"I'm trying to come up and have a good at-bat, just doing my job as best as I can," he said.
Gushue thinks maybe there is a little more to it than that. But he appreciates his teammate for making his best effort on the field.
"Everybody at the end of the day wants to be the best player on the field. I think there is a little friendly competition no matter what," he said. "Victor's an awesome player and it's a pleasure to be his teammate. He does things the right way, and I just love being on the same team as him, that's for sure."
Devin Gooden is a graduate student at Arizona State University. This story is a part of a partnership between MLB.com and The Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.