Royals AFL Opening Day Recap
By Jen Nevius
The Arizona Fall League opened on Tuesday and Peoria played one of the two afternoon games. With the Peoria Stadium undergoing renovations for the second consecutive season, the Javelinas are playing their home games in Surprise.
The Javelinas were the “road” team in their AFL opener against the Surprise Saguaros. KC Royals top prospect Kyle Zimmer was on the mound for the start for Peoria.
Zimmer had a quick 1-2-3 first, but ran into trouble in the second. A leadoff single, followed by an RBI double tied the game at 1-1. A ground out and a wild pitch followed to give the Saguaros the 2-1 lead.
Zimmer got two quick outs in the third before giving up a solo home run. He was pulled in the fourth after a two out walk. He was in line for the loss, as the Saguaros led 4-2 heading into the eighth, but there was a little Royals magic to be had in the AFL.
Hunter Dozier in the Bowman Hitting Challenge (courtesy of Karilee Jeantet).
Bubba Starling, who started in centerfield and batted seventh for Peoria, led off the 8th inning with a single (his first AFL hit). With two on and two outs, Cleveland outfielder Jordan Smith drove in Starling with a single. Next up was Hunter Dozier, coming off his Bowman Hitting Challenge title on Saturday. He drove the pitch from Stephen Landazuri (Seattle) to right field for a two-run double to give the Javelinas the lead.
Peoria went on to hold on for the 5-4 victory.
Dozier went 2-for-5 while playing third base and batting third. Starling went 1-for-4 with two runs scored and two strikeouts.
*Former Royal Ryan Dennick (Cincinnati) allowed one hit over one inning of relief for Surprise. Patrick Leonard (Tampa Bay), who was a part of the James Shields–Wil Myers deal, played first base for Peoria and went 0-for-5 with two strikeouts.