Nationals prospects Bryce Harper and Derek Norris played in Saturday’s AFL Rising Stars Game in Surprise, Ariz. The AFL West, led by former Virginia standout Danny Hultzen, beat the AFL East 11-2 at Surprise Stadium.
Harper connected on an RBI sacrifice fly in the fourth for the East. He finished 0-for-2 with a walk and two strikeouts. Norris went 0-for-2 with a walk and a strikeout.
As the second half of the season begins Monday, Norris is batting .339 and Harper connecting at .314.
The AFL West erupted for 10 runs in the first three innings to lead 10-1.
Maybe the East could have used the pitching of left-hander Sammy Solis, who was absolutely brilliant Friday night in his first win of the AFL campaign.
Solis struck out nine of the 12 batters he faced over four frames in a 9-2 dispatch of Phoenix. Solis allowed three hits and three walks, but no runs.
Solis added a traditional curveball to his pitching repertoire this fall season.
He has now gone two starts without allowing an earned run and has struck out 14 batters. He is 1-0 with a 4.30 ERA in six starts and 23 innings for Scottsdale.
More good news for Nationals prospects followed as Matt Purke, Pat Lehman and Rafael Martin combined to fire three scoreless innings, yielding just two hits, no runs, no walks and striking out three Desert Dogs.
So the Nationals prospects struck out 12 hitters total in the win.
* I had a chance to stop by Nationals Park this week and could not help but notice they are completely resodding the field. It is the first time I have seen the park look like this since it was built from 2006-2008.
The infield is already complete and it is a rich, dark green-colored turf. The grounds crew was working on it into nightfall.