Dalton Pompey was lightning in a bottle.
The outfielder rocketed through the Toronto Blue Jays system last year and earned a spot on the club’s Opening Day roster.
His career experience had only been an upward trajectory, although he’s smart enough to understand the road to a Major League Baseball career has twists, turns and a variety of potholes.
But while Pompey understood his demotion to Triple-A on May 1, it took him a few days to experience the disappointment and learn first-hand how to handle this particular career twist.
His first seven games with the Buffalo Bisons were discouraging. Pompey went 4 for 28, batting .143 with one RBI, as the Bisons went on a six-game losing streak.
“I think the first couple days, you know I wasn’t happy,” Pompey said. “I got sent down and it was my first time ever getting sent down. I’ve only ever been sent up, so it was kind of an adjustment period for me and I didn’t really know how to handle it. After a couple of days I was just here now so I had to contribute to this team and help this team win and now I’m in a lot better space mentally. I feel good about where this team is headed.”
The team is on a two-game win streak at Coca-Cola Field after defeating the Durham Bulls, 6-2, on Tuesday.
Pompey is a better place mentally after going 5 for 8 in the last two victories, driving in two runs with four runs scored.
“It was good for my confidence for sure,” Pompey said. “It’s tough in baseball when you see numbers on the board that you’re not really too proud of. I was lucky enough to kind of turn it around in one day. It helps me get into better spirits going forward, but at the same time I know it’s a process. I can’t control a lot of stuff that happens on the field in terms of me getting hits and stuff like that, so I just try to stay with it.”
“He’s probably more relaxed,” manager Gary Allenson said about Pompey.
“It’s tough. You make it to the big leagues and you get sent down for the first time, it kind of plays with your head a little bit. To finally settle down and get used to your new teammates and just going out and having fun is probably the most important thing.”
The fun factor was the greatest for Pompey and the Bisons in the fourth inning when they scored six runs and sent 11 batters to the plate.
Pompey started the inning by drawing a walk. Then Andy Burns singled to move him to second. Pompey scored on a single from Matt Hague and the flood gates opened for the Herd.
In his second at-bat of the inning Pompey drove a two-out RBI single to right field.
“I got it going with the walk and guys fed off that,” Pompey said. “Guys were getting their hits and rolling things through and next thing you know, I come up again in the same inning. I was able to contribute and get an RBI as well as score a run.
“Hitting is one of those things were everything just keeps rolling. Once you see a couple guys get a hit in a row, then it just, I don’t understand it. It’s just something in baseball where it snowballs and then everybody feels good.”
Pompey isn’t the only Bisons’ batter to get out of a hitting funk. Collectively, the Bisons struggled on their six-game road trip, getting shut out four times and scoring just five runs on the trip.
They’ve surpassed that total in each of their two wins at Coca-Cola Field.
“Hitters go through slumps. Pitchers go through slumps. We were in a collective 1 through 9 hitters’ slump there on the last road trip,” Allenson said. “We really couldn’t get anything going there and maybe we just needed a little home cooking.”