The Scottsdale Scorpions lost again on Thursday, their seventh straight defeat. First place Mesa won 7-3 to move to 5.5 games ahead of Scottsdale, with 11 games left in the regular season. arizona_fall_league_logo

Two Pittsburgh Pirates players were in the starting lineup. Alen Hanson was at shortstop and batting lead-off, while Gift Ngoepe was his double play partner, batting ninth.

In his first at bat, Alen Hanson popped out to third base. In the third inning, with two outs and no one on base, he singled to right field. After a wild pitch got him to second base, Hanson scored the first run of the game on a single by Jarrett Parker. In the fifth inning, Hanson grounded out to first base to end the inning. In his fourth AB, Hanson grounded out to shortstop, leaving him 1-for-4 on the day.

Gift Ngoepe has really struggled at the plate in the AFL, though that hasn’t affected his fielding. Ngoepe has not made an error yet coming into Thursday’s game. In each of his first two AB’s on Thursday, he struck out. In the third inning, he went down swinging and two innings later, he was called out on strikes. In the top of the eighth inning, Ngoepe capped off his rough day at the plate with his third straight strikeout. In 32 AB’s, he has now struck out 15 times.

Both Ngoepe and Hanson were flawless in the field. For Ngoepe, he has played nine games between shortstop and second base without an error, while Hanson has played nine straight games at shortstop without a miscue. Hanson made five errors in the first four games of the year, twice committing two errors in one game.

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    • Dickerson is 13th in the league in batting average, although he isn’t hitting for much power and his strikeouts are a little high. Dickerson was scratched from the lineup on Wednesday and hasn’t played the last two days either.

    • When the Pirates benched him early this year to specifically work on his defense, he was hitting at the time either. When he came back, not only was his fielding improved, he started to hit. So I don’t think there will be any worries. The AFL is a tough league and he is the youngest position player on Scottsdale by 11 months, so his .675 OPS is just fine. It is actually right in line with the team’s .677 OPS.

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