On a warm March afternoon in 2015, Tristan Pompey took the field in Dunedin for the first time, as a member of the Canadian Junior National team. Pompey and his high school-age teammates had the rare privilege of facing big league competition in a Spring Training exhibition that featured such names as R.A. Dickey, Russell Martin and Maicer Izturis.
And one name that was very familiar to the 17-year-old.
"I got to play against my brother that day, too," Pompey said. "That was the only time we were ever on the field playing baseball against each other."
Pompey is four years younger than his brother, Dalton, who made his Major League debut with the Blue Jays in 2014.
"My brother actually flew out to me the first at-bat of the game," the younger Pompey said. "That was a pretty cool experience, and all the fans were kind of cheering about that."
Nearly three and a half years later, he returned to Dunedin this August, this time as the Miami Marlins' No. 15 prospect.
"To go back there, it was like familiar grounds, because I've been there to watch my brother play," he said. "So it was pretty cool to be back there, and to actually be playing now myself."
Now with the Jupiter Hammerheads, Pompey has hit .317 with a .442 on-base percentage and four stolen bases in 18 games since his promotion from Class A Greensboro on Aug. 7. A week after joining Jupiter, Pompey collected four hits and six RBIs in a four-game series against the Dunedin Blue Jays, in the stadium his brother once called home.
"We were always really close, but we never got to play with each other because we were always like four and a half years in age difference," Pompey said. "But I would always watch him and he would watch me, and because he was the older brother he always had that experience over me, so he would help me and kind of coach me whenever I needed help.
"Especially when he got drafted, he would tell me all this stuff that [Blue Jays] coaches taught him, and he would just pass it down to me -- it definitely helped me out a lot. And we're able to help each other now because we're both with different organizations, and we're both different, complete players, so we can help each other with our weaknesses."
The Pompey brothers grew up in Mississauga, Ontario, playing basketball and baseball. The elder Pompey played for Canada's Junior National team in 2010, and Tristan followed suit five years later.
The experience included Spring Training exhibitions facing Minor and Major League opponents, scrimmages against extended spring training clubs and the WBSC U18 World Cup in Nishinomiya, Japan.
"It helped a lot, baseball-wise -- it got me prepared for this level to kind of see what I was getting myself into," Pompey said.
"And it also matured me as a person, because I was away from home a lot, being with Team Canada. It made me prepared for school and, being away, not having that fear of missing home."
Pompey was drafted in the 31st round that year by the Twins but elected to play college ball at the University of Kentucky. After batting .321 across three collegiate seasons, he was selected by the Marlins in the third round this June.
Pompey, who grew up a Blue Jays fan but enjoyed watching Derek Jeter, said he has not yet had the opportunity to meet his new boss -- the Yankees legend who now serves as CEO of the Marlins.
"My brother was playing the Yankees when he got his first hit, and Derek Jeter congratulated him on it.
"I haven't gotten to meet him yet, hopefully one day."
Playoff picture: Entering the final week of the regular season, the Charlotte Stone Crabs and Fort Myers Miracle are separated by just 1.5 games in the FSL South, while the Clearwater Threshers sit four games up on the Lakeland Flying Tigers in the North. The Palm Beach Cardinals and Daytona Tortugas won their respective divisions in the first half and will battle the second-half winners in a best-of-3 series beginning Tuesday, Sept. 4.
Strong armed: Of the top-10 ERAs in the league in the month of August, three are Threshers starting pitchers. Bailey Falter leads the FSL this month with a 0.78 ERA across four starts, while No. 20 Phillies prospect David Parkinson has pitched to a 1.17 ERA and Mauricio Llovera has a 1.80 ERA. Clearwater has gone 18-8 this month, thanks to a league-best 2.32 team ERA.
Finishing strong: Dunedin outfielder Joshua Palacios has had a huge August, batting .378 with 23 RBIs in 22 games this month. Thirtieth-ranked Blue Jays prospect Riley Adams has posted the fourth-best average in the league through the last 17 games at .356. Collectively, Dunedin has hit .284 this month, nearly 20 points higher than any other team in the league.