Working in Brooklyn is very different than playing in Florida. But for Peter Alonso, competing in the Sunshine State prepared him for life as a professional ballplayer.
"Especially playing in the Southeastern Conference," the University of Florida product said. "Playing all those conference games and then competing against teams like Miami, Florida State and other schools in Florida. It's huge down there. But I learned so much playing on some of the biggest stages like the SEC and in the College World Series."
The Mets' No. 13 prospect amassed the first four-hit game of his career, going 4-for-5 with a homer and a double while matching a career high with three RBIs on Monday night as Class A Short Season Brooklyn trounced host Tri-City, 14-3.
Since going hitless in four of five games to end July, Alonso has batted .419 with eight extra-base hits and eight RBIs in eight games this month. The 21-year-old infielder is slashing .324/.387/.590 with five homers and 21 RBIs through his first 29 games with the Cyclones.
"I'm not surprised at what I've done so far," Alonso said. "I try to prepare myself to be the best and I demand a lot out of myself. I'm out there competing every day and trying to get better and better to be the best player I can be. I haven't really changed my approach much.
"Even with a few hitless games, I was squaring it up and hitting the ball right at people. I'd have two good at-bats and then two where I'd get myself out. You're going to have ups and downs as a hitter, you've got to just stay with it through the adversity. It's baseball though, sometimes it doesn't happen for you. But I work hard, I'm extremely dedicated and all that mixed together has led to good results."
The Mets' second-round pick this year lined an RBI double to center field and scored during Brooklyn's four-run first inning. After Cody Woodmansee singled to start the third, Alonso took Tri-City starter Austin Nicely over the wall in left-center for his second homer this month. He singled to left later in the same frame.
After grounding out in the fifth, Alonso singled to left in the eighth and scored on Gene Cone's groundout.
Although he's played only a month, the Tampa native is loving life as a professional. He was selected to play in the league's All-Star Game on Aug. 16.
"It was extremely special when I learned I was chosen as an All-Star," Alonso said. "I haven't been here the whole time, so for them to select me, it means I've made an incredible impact. I'll try to capitalize and make the most of this opportunity. Overall, I've really enjoyed my time here. We have a great group of guys and it's fun going to the yard every day. I'm just enjoying things and playing the game I love."
Meanwhile, he's also adjusting to life in New York City.
"It's definitely a change," Alonso said. "Going to the University of Florida, which is in a small town and even though Tampa is a city, it's very spread out. New York is cool, but it's a change for me. I'm definitely liking it a lot though."
Ali Sanchez, the Mets' 21st-ranked prospect, went 4-for-5 with two doubles, three runs scored and an RBI. Woodmansee had three hits, three RBIs and two runs scored for the Cyclones, whose 14 runs were a season high.
Spencer Johnson homered for the second straight day for Tri-City.
Gabriel Llanes (3-5) allowed three runs on 11 hits while striking out one in 6 2/3 innings to give Tom Gamboa his 100th win as Cyclones manager.
Nicely (5-2) surrendered seven runs on seven hits and a walk with two strikeouts in two-plus frames.