On Wednesday, Geraldo Perdomo -- hitter of eight home runs in three Minor League seasons -- crushed the first pitch of Visalia's California League semifinal series with San Jose. He hit it so far, Rawhide manager Shawn Roof said, that the 19-year-old shortstop was a little startled. And it counted
On Wednesday, Geraldo Perdomo -- hitter of eight home runs in three Minor League seasons -- crushed the first pitch of Visalia's California League semifinal series with San Jose. He hit it so far, Rawhide manager Shawn Roof said, that the 19-year-old shortstop was a little startled. And it counted for nothing more than a strike; the ball sailed foul.
It didn't matter, because Perdomo took the momentum from that swing and turned it into a hit. Then four hits that game. Then, on Friday, two more knocks and four RBIs in Visalia's 13-6 win over San Jose at Recreation Park. The romp completed a three-game sweep during which the Rawhide never trailed.
"He just kind of set the tone that, 'Hey, we're coming. We're coming to be aggressive. You've got to come to us and we're going to come at you,'" Roof said. "He plays with so much energy. He means so much to this team. When he goes, we go. Everybody on this team is a big factor, but when your guy at the top of the lineup provides that spark, it just makes everything else easier."
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Visalia awaits the winner of the other semifinal, between Lake Elsinore and Rancho Cucamonga, in the best-of-5 Championship Series.
Perdomo was a key piece in getting there. After hitting .301 with a .794 OPS in 26 regular-season games with the Rawhide, the No. 7 D-backs prospect went 6-for-13 (.462) against the Giants, singling four times in Game 1. He went 0-for-4 in Game 2 but rebounded quickly on Friday night.
He knocked a leadoff single in a seven-run first inning and earned his first RBI later that frame when southpaw Mac Marshall hit him with a pitch with the bases loaded. Perdomo stepped in with the bases loaded again with two outs in the fourth and cleared them all with a double off right-hander Jesus Tona that extended the lead to 12-2.
The teenager has always had a great eye for strikes, according to his manager. They spent time together last year with Class A Short Season Hillsboro, and Perdomo's maturation since then has been easy to spot.
"He's more aggressive in the strike zone," Roof said. "Before, he used to try to walk a lot of times. When he got two strikes on him, that's when he'd try to get a hit. Now, he continues to have a good eye, but when the ball comes in the zone, he's ready to attack."
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That philosophy in the box trickled down the lineup. Eight of Visalia's nine batters recorded at least one hit. The one who didn't, No. 9 hitter Jorge Perez, walked twice and scored a run. Top D-backs prospect Alek Thomas notched two hits and two RBIs. He beat out a double-play ball and legged an infield single in the first inning alone. Roof believes that changed the game.
"They had in their minds that they wanted to jump on the other team from pitch one," he said.
Right-hander Shumpei Yoshikawa (1-0) earned the win. He was tagged for two dingers among seven hits in five innings, giving up five runs. Four relievers combined to allow one run over the final four frames.
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Eguy Rosario's sacrifice fly in the top of the ninth inning put Lake Elsinore ahead, but Rancho Cucamonga provided heroics in the bottom of the frame to avoid a sweep. Starling Heredia laced a first-pitch homer off Mason Fox to tie the game, and Jacob Amaya followed with a walk-off jack on the next pitch. It was the second long ball of the game for the Dodgers' No. 13 prospect. Lake Elsinore leads the series, 2-1, with Game 4 slated for Saturday night Rancho Cucamonga. Gameday box score
Joe Bloss is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @jtbloss.