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By Jon Weisman
Throughout my childhood, I would hear tales of Lew Alcindor leading the 1965-66 UCLA freshman men’s basketball team to victory over the UCLA varsity, which had merely won the NCAA title the season before.
The situation isn’t really the same, but if nothing else, the 2015 Dodger junior varsity gives a hint of what it must have been like to experience such excitement from the future.
Dodger prospects and reserves have been shining all spring long, but the eighth inning of today’s 10-5 victory over Oakland turned the brightness up to 10.
First, they tended the top of the eighth in dazzling fashion, with Erisbel Arruebarrena — playing out of position at second base — ranging far to his left to flag a ground ball, before doing a 180-degree turn to whip the ball to super-prospect Corey Seager, who stepped on second and fired to Kyle Jensen at first for an inning-ending double play.
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Then in the home half of the inning at Camelback Ranch, Darnell Sweeney followed singles by Austin Barnes and Jensen and a walk to Seager with a grand slam — to the opposite field, no less.
Next, after Alex Guerrero singled and O’Koyea Dickson calmly took first base after being hit by a pitch, Scott Schebler hit a towering homer of his own to center field.
Before Schebler had finished getting high fives in the dugout, Chris Heisey homered to left, capping the eight-run eighth inning for the Dodgers, who are now 8-2-4 (.714) in Spring Training, in no small part because when the reserves come in, they have been fairly dominant.
Lest it be forgotten, the Dodgers were led in the early going by Darwin Barney, who went 3 for 3, and Joc Pederson, who walked once and made this catch in center field.
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Yeah, yeah — it’s March. But it’s been fun.
It’s great to see players in Dodger uniforms exploding in offense, no matter who they are. Better keep a record of their names.