AFL Dish: Donaldson Helps Dogs To Title

Prospect Of The Day

Phoenix first baseman Josh Donaldson (Athletics) did most of the damage at the plate to help the Desert Dogs defeat the Solar Sox for the Arizona Fall League championship on Saturday afternoon.

Donaldson went 3-for-5 with a home run and four RBIs.

The home run was Donaldson’s seventh of the AFL and came off of Mesa righthander Tim Wood (Marlins).

Donaldson finished fall ball with a line of .288/.315/.452 over 104 at-bats.

Other Notable Performances

The Desert Dogs’ victory on Saturday was a rare feat because they won a game started by Mesa righthander Tommy Hanson (Braves).

Not that it was his fault, necessarily, but it’s pretty rare nonetheless and this game just happened to be the AFL championship game. Hanson did his part, giving up just one run on three hits while striking out eight and walking one over five innings. Mesa had a 3-1 lead when he left the game, but that’s when the wheels fell off for the Solar Sox. Mesa added another run in the top of the sixth, but in the bottom of the frame, the Desert Dogs rallied for five runs to go ahead 6-4 and then added four more in the bottom of the seventh in what would end up as the final score, 10-4. Coincidentally, the Solar Sox only lost one time in a game where Hanson was the starting pitcher, and it happened on Nov. 6 … against the Desert Dogs. So, of the three earned runs Hanson gave up this fall, he gave up two of them against Phoenix.

Despite his team losing the championship game, Hanson was virtually untouchable this fall. If you combine Hanson’s performance in the championship game to what he did during the AFL season, he went 5-0, 0.80 with 57 strikeouts and just eight walks over 33 2/3 innings. That would give him the most AFL strikeouts since Alan Benes fanned 62 over 56 innings in 1995. Of course, in 1995 AFL teams played 51 games. Today, they play only 38.

First baseman Jeff Larish (Tigers) had the best day at the plate for the Solar Sox, going 2-for-4 with a home run and two RBIs. Mesa shortstop Jason Donald (Phillies) went 2-for-5. . . Mesa DH Logan Morrison (Marlins) went 2-for-4 and right fielder Casper Wells (Tigers) went 2-for-4 with a double. . Third baseman Danny Valencia (Twins) went 2-for-3 with a triple and two RBIs and right fielder Evan Frey (Diamondbacks) went 2-for-4 with a double and three RBIs. . . The win gave the Desert Dogs their fifth-straight AFL championship.