Corey Thompson's time away from the diamond proved to be a boon to his baseball education. He applied some of those lessons on Wednesday night.
The White Sox prospect homered twice and drove in a career-high six runs on Wednesday night, helping Rookie-level Great Falls outslug Ogden, 16-9, at Lindquist Field.
After grounding out in the second inning, Thompson slugged a two-run homer in the third, a shot he described as having "crept out." He delivered a two-run double in the Voyagers' five-run fourth inning, then drilled another two-run blast in the sixth to cap his two-homer game as a pro.
"The second one, I knew I hit well," Thompson said. "The pitcher broke my bat the pitch before and he threw a fastball on the outside corner. I knew it was gone when I hit it."
Thompson shattered his previous career high of three RBIs, established on July 12 against Orem. The 2012 31st-round Draft pick raised his average to .306 and has four homers and 31 RBIs in 46 games.
"I'm thrilled, best game as a Minor League player, it feels amazing. It feels good," he said. "I had some texts from family members that made it even better. I gotta give credit to our hitting coach [Charles Poe]. He made my swing a lot simpler and it's made all the difference."
The 23-year-old first baseman was sidelined for most of his rookie season after suffering a torn labrum and dislocating his shoulder while diving for a catch in the Appalachian League. While missing that much time was difficult, it proved to be a learning experience.
"I sat next to a man who knows the game inside and out, [Bristol manager] Pete Rose Jr.," Thompson said. "It was good sitting next to him. Just sitting there, watching the game and seeing how he goes about it, it's a whole different perspective.
"He's a player's manager. He's always teaching, there's no 'Get out there and do it.' He's going to talk to you, he's going to teach you the game and he's going to be there for you. He's great. I think I learned a whole lot more in one season sitting next to him than I knew in my whole life."
The three-hit game was the Thompson's seventh of the season and extended his hitting streak to 14 games. Since posting a .163 average in the opening month of the Pioneer League campaign, the East Carolina University product is batting .350.
Catcher Trey Wimmer, who bats one spot behind Thompson in the Voyagers' lineup, went 4-for-6 with a homer and two RBIs and fell a triple shy of the cycle. Danny Hayes also went yard for Great Falls, which clubbed a season-high five longballs to improve to 13-2 in the second half.
Jesmuel Valentin, the Dodgers' No. 14 prospect, was 3-for-6, scored twice and came within a homer of the cycle for the Raptors.