Rockies infield prospect Miguel Dilone was pressing too hard earlier in the season, according to Dust Devils manager Drew Saylor, who expects that of his young, confident hitters.
But when that confidence combines with patience and discipline, the sparks really start to fly. So does the ball.
Dilone went 3-for-4 with two homers, a career-high eight RBIs, four runs scored and a walk in Class A Short Season Tri-City's 21-12 rout of the Spokane Indians.
"Any time you have eight RBIs, it's going to be a special night," said Saylor. "I haven't seen this before. I know it's only my second year managing and my ninth year in professional baseball, but you don't see this very often.
"Seeing these 35 guys acting as one family, cheering every single pitch, that is what is special about this team. These guys will remember nights like these for the rest of their lives. We do so much in terms of creating this environment, and any time you see it all come together, it's really special."
It was Dilone's second multi-homer game of his career and he finished one hit short of matching a personal best. He went 4-for-6 with two homers and six RBIs last Aug. 14 in Grand Junction's 16-12 win over Missoula.
Batting seventh and serving as the Dust Devils' designated hitter, Dilone clubbed a two-run homer to left field in the second inning and ripped a two-run single to right in the third. He walked and grounded out as Tri-City sent 10 to the plate in the fifth, added a three-run long ball to right in the seventh and capped his night with a sacrifice fly in the ninth.
"Fastball out over the plate," Saylor said of the first home run. "He was just trying to put a good swing on the ball. The ball carries a little bit at times in Spokane. I thought it was going to be off the wall, and next thing you know, it's over the fence. It was a line drive that kept going. An effortless swing.
"[The second homer], he had two strikes on him. Fastball middle-in and it was an easy, effortless swing and he drove it over the right-field fence."
Signed by the Rockies as a non-drafted free agent in 2011, the career night gave the 21-year-old a boost in his offensive numbers. He entered Monday with one homer and 14 RBIs in 29 Northwest League games, but the laser show helped spike all of his stats.
"There was not one guy that was sitting on the bench," Saylor said of Dilone's two-run homer. "It was similar to how it is in college, everyone was excited and giving each other high-fives. It was at a big point in the game and that was a knockout punch.
"These games are definitely fun and interesting. It was a playoff atmosphere. Every game now is a playoff game and it showed the character of our team. Tonight wasn't about just one or two guys. It's about all nine guys. And when you;re playing for the guy in the on-deck circle, you know you have something special."
A native of the Dominican Republic, the 6-foot-2 left-handed hitter is in his fourth year of pro ball. He spent all of 2011 and 2012 with Colorado's Dominican Summer League affiliate before appearing in 51 Pioneer League games with Rookie-level Grand Junction last season.
He hit just .176 in June and .244 in July for Tri-City, but the bat has started to come around. In five August contests, Dilone is 7-for-19 (.368) with 13 RBIs.
"He had a little bit of a slow start," said Saylor, "but he has been getting in a groove lately and putting together some really good at-bats. He was trying to do too much, but that is typical of young players. He's put a lot of extra work in with hitting coach Warren Schaeffer and he's been a lot more consistent.
"Sometimes guys that have confidence try to do a little bit too much, but he has been excellent in the second half. I think he has been trusting himself and staying with his rhythm and executing his swing."
Tri-City leadoff hitter Wilson Soriano went 4-for-6 with three RBIs and two runs scored and first baseman Sean Dwyer was 3-for-5 with a double, a walk and three runs scored. Second baseman Sam Bumpers collected three hits and fell a homer shy of hitting for the cycle as the visitors collected 19 hits.
Spokane third baseman Seth Spivey went 4-for-5 with a walk and three runs scored and second baseman Isiah Kiner-Falefa and first baseman Juremi Profar each plated three runs for Spokane.