Williams stays hot with big hits for Javelinas

Rays' No. 15 prospect batting .400 after game-tying hit, third triple

Williams stays hot with big hits for Javelinas

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Justin Williams, the Tampa Bay Rays' No. 15 prospect, put on a show at the plate Thursday, going 2-for-4 with a single, a triple, an RBI and two runs scored as the Peoria Javelinas beat the Surprise Saguaros, 6-4, at Surprise Stadium.

Williams, a second-round pick by the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2013 before going to the Rays in the Jeremy Hellickson trade, is hitting .400 in the Fall League with a 1.258 OPS.

Peoria raced out to an early 3-0 lead, but they would trail 4-3 after five innings. D.J. Stewart,the Orioles' No. 12 prospect, walked to begin the 6th inning and promptly stole second.


That set the stage for Williams, who drilled the first pitch he saw up the middle to score Stewart and tie the game.

"Honestly, I was thinking about how it was lefty-on-lefty," Williams said. "I was looking for the first fastball I could drive. The first pitch was there, and I threw a swing on it."

Williams came around to score the go-ahead run later in the frame on a bloop single by Kean Wong, brother of the Cardinals' Kolten Wong, that he sent down the right-field line.

Williams led off with another shot two innings later, a triple to deep right field. It was his third triple in Fall League play, and he scored to pad the lead when the Padres' Josh VanMeter singled to right field.

"That at-bat, I took the first pitch to get the timing down as it was my first time seeing him," Williams said. "I got my timing down, saw another fastball, tried putting a swing on it and didn't try to do too much."

Peoria has now won five consecutive games as the players have meshed well. All nine starting position players for the Javelinas reached base in the game, with eight notching hits.

Williams said the chemistry that has formed among the players has fed the success.

"Playing with these guys makes it really easy because it's a really great group of guys," Williams said. "They make it really fun and relaxed in the dugout. It makes it a tad bit easier to do your job."

Jose Torres of the Padres and Jimmy Yacabonis of the Orioles pitched three shutout innings to preserve the victory. Torres and Yacabonis combined for five strikeouts, no hits and three walks.

Brendan Kennealy is a senior sports journalism student at Arizona State University. This story is part of a partnership between MLB.com and ASU's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.