Jonathan Schoop endured a lot this season and while his start in the Arizona Fall League hasn't put any of that behind him, Thursday's game is a step in the right direction.
The Orioles' No. 4 prospect slugged a two-run homer, part of a six-run frame, as Surprise rallied past Scottsdale, 10-5.
Trailing 3-1 entering the sixth inning, the Saguaros scored twice ahead of Schoop to draw even. The infielder, who celebrated his 22nd birthday on Wednesday, broke the tie by launching a slider over the left field wall of Surprise Stadium, his first longball this fall.
"I've been struggling a little bit," Schoop said. "So I said, 'Let me just keep it simple and just hit the ball.' I just put the ball in play and the ball went out."
Schoop entered the game in a 1-for-17 slump, with his lone hit being a single in Tuesday's contest against Salt River. Despite the struggles, the Curacao native has maintained an even-keeled approach.
"I feel comfortable," Schoop said. "Sometimes, this is baseball. You've got to find a way to work through it. That's baseball. You've got to make adjustments and I'm doing it."
Schoop missed two months of the season after suffering a fracture in the back. He batted .278 with 14 homers and 52 RBIs in 81 Minor Leagues games and added four hits in 15 at-bats in the Major Leagues. The time in the Arizona Fall League is a blessing for Schoop, as he looks to get back on track for 2014.
"I feel good," he said. "I feel the way I want to feel. I'm getting stronger. I've got to keep on my program and keep working. I want to try to finish strong and go into the offseason. I just want to get to be a better player.
"Now is a time for me to get better as a player and help my organization get to playoffs and win a World Series. I'm out here to get better and get some more at bats and get ready for next season and be a better player"
Mooke Betts, Boston's No. 16 prospect, and Brett Nicholas (Rangers) smacked RBI doubles in the sixth, while Mitch Haniger, the Brewers' No. 12 prospect, drove home a run with a sacrifice fly. Nicholas scored the final run of the frame on a wild pitch. Travis Shaw (Red Sox) added a two-run homer in the eighth.
Peter O'Brien (Yankees) launched a pair of solo homers while Mets prospect Cory Vaughn plated a pair of runs for the Scorpions. Tommy La Stella, the Braves' No. 14 prospect, reached base five times and scored a run.
Pete Ruiz (Red Sox) gave up a run on three hits over two innings to earn the win in relief for Surprise. Rangers prospect Ryan Harvey fanned two while recording the final four outs to earn his first save of the fall.
Giants prospect Adalberto Mejia surrendered four runs on three hits over 1 2/3 innings of relief to fall to 0-1 for Scottsdale.