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AFL Recap: Peoria Wins with a Strong Night from Canaan Smith-Njigba


Peoria came into Friday night’s action with a 2-6 record. They were on the road taking on Scottsdale in this contest, with Ji-hwan Bae batting lead-off at second base and Canaan Smith-Njigba batting sixth and playing right field. Carmen Mlodzinski made it three Pittsburgh Pirates in this game when he came into pitching in relief in the fourth, then Bear Bellomy made it four Pirates when he came out of the bullpen in the ninth. Here’s a recap of tonight’s action for each player:

Bae struck out swinging in the first, then lined out to right field in the third. He reached on an infield single in the fifth, then scored after back-to-back wild pitches. He grounded out in the sixth, then reached on another infield single in the eighth. He lined out in the ninth, leaving him 2-for-6 on the night, giving him a .321 average. He has gone 6-for-18 this week and all six hits have been infield singles.

Smith-Njigba had a nice game on offense. He started with a walk in the second, then drew another in the fourth. He singled and scored a run in the fifth. He grounded out in the seventh, then singled and scored in the ninth. That left him with a 2-for-3 day, with two walks and two runs scored. He now has a .333 batting average.

Mlodzinski came on in the fourth inning with two outs and the bases loaded. He got a fly out on the first pitch to get out of the inning and strand three runners. In the fifth, he had a 12-pitch inning, giving up a single, while getting two fly balls and a ground out to retire the side. In the sixth, Mlodzinski allowed a lead-off homer. He got the next batter to ground back to the mound, then got a fly ball and a seven-pitch strikeout that ended his night. He went 2.1 innings, with one run on two hits, no walks and one strikeout. Peoria won the game 10-8 and he was credited with the win. He threw 32 pitches, with 23 strikes.

Bellomy had a rough ninth, but he preserved the win. He got a ground out on two pitches for the first out. After issuing a walk, he struck out the next batter.  That was followed by a single and a walk to load the bases. A wild pitch brought in the first run to make it 10-7. A single scored another run, but a ground out ended the game. He threw 23 pitches, with just ten going for strikes.

Here’s the boxscore

Peoria is on the road tomorrow night to take on Surprise. Game time is 9:35 PM EDT.

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John Dreker
John Dreker
John started working at Pirates Prospects in 2009, but his connection to the Pittsburgh Pirates started exactly 100 years earlier when Dots Miller debuted for the 1909 World Series champions. John was born in Kearny, NJ, two blocks from the house where Dots Miller grew up. From that hometown hero connection came a love of Pirates history, as well as the sport of baseball. When he didn't make it as a lefty pitcher with an 80+ MPH fastball and a slider that needed work, John turned to covering the game, eventually focusing in on the prospects side, where his interest was pushed by the big league team being below .500 for so long. John has covered the minors in some form since the 2002 season, and leads the draft and international coverage on Pirates Prospects. He writes daily on Pittsburgh Baseball History, when he's not covering the entire system daily throughout the entire year on Pirates Prospects.

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