Upon his first promotion to Class A Advanced in July, David Dahl knew he'd still be able to return to the pursuit of South Atlantic League crown. Now that his chance has arrived, he and his Asheville teammates are heading into their chase on a winning note.
Colorado's No. 3 prospect ripped four singles and scored two runs as Class A Asheville pounded out 17 hits to cruise to a 5-0 win over West Virginia in the regular-season finale.
"[The Rockies] told me when I moved up that the plan was for me to come back for the playoffs, come back and help the team out," Dahl said. "I was really excited to come back here and contribute. Hopefully, we can win a championship."
That's the goal for the Tourists, who finish 2014 with the best overall record in the South Atlantic League as well as the circuit's Southern Division second-half title. They'll pursue it with one of their top players from the first four months of the year.
Dahl was promoted to Modesto at the end of July but returned to the Tourists on Saturday after batting .267/.296/.467 in the California League.
"The starters that I faced there and here, they're about the same," he said. "Up in the Cal League, it was more consistent with the relievers. Every guy, I felt like, came in throwing mid- to high-90s with really, really good sliders. Here, you face just a couple of guys like that out of the 'pen. Guys up there use their offspeed a little more and threw it in a lot of hitter's counts."
With 29 games of experience at the next level, Dahl lashed singles in the first, third, seventh and ninth innings Monday, bumping his Class A slash line to .309/.347/.500. Dahl's third four-hit night of the season came as part of a 17-hit attack for the Tourists.
"Everybody came out swinging it really well," Dahl said. "I happened to get some knocks early in the game and felt really good. It's good to get a win like that right before the playoffs. I was very happy about that.
"It's a great feeling, especially the way we did it. We had 17 hits and shut them out with our pitching. That gives us a lot of confidence going into the playoffs. Hopefully, we can carry it over."
Three different Asheville pitchers went three innings. Starter Konner Wade struck out seven while allowing just one hit. Johendi Jiminian (14-6) fanned five while allowing a hit and walking one. Alex Balog picked up his first save while giving up one hit and striking out two.