January 30, 2023

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Twins prospect homers to complete cycle

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It was a night to remember for Alerick Soularie, who notched the first cycle of his career.

The Twins’ No. 23 prospect has struggled to begin the season. His batting average dipped below .200 six games into the year on April 14 and remained under that mark until the cycle brought it back up to .203.

“I feel like I can hit with the best of them,” Soularie said. “I just have been kinda in a rough patch, but I just got to stay consistent, stay in the cage and keep grinding and it’ll all pay off.”

The 6-foot, 175-pounder was 4-for-5 in High-A Cedar Rapids’ 8-5 win over Lansing, including his fifth homer of the season and already his second in June. The last Kernels player to hit for the cycle was Gabe Jacobo on May 8, 2009, against Quad Cities.

“I know my family’s watching, and I’ve worked pretty hard in the last couple of weeks, months and years leading up to it, so it feels good to actually have something like this happen,” Soularie said.

The right-handed hitter began the night with a triple on a 1-2 count to right field in the first inning. In his next two plate appearances, he would just reach first base on a walk in the second and a single in the fourth. He followed that with a double to lead off the seventh, but the fireworks came on a 3-1 pitch in the eighth, when he completed the cycle with a homer to right-center.

“That was the first time I’ve ever gotten close to [a cycle], so that was the first time I’ve ever gotten it done, definitely,” Soularie said.

The outfielder is in his second season with the organization after being drafted in the second round (59th overall) in 2020 out of the University ofTennessee.

The 22-year-old was originally committed to Arkansas because of his relationship with then recruiting coordinator Tony Vitello. But as the coach moved to Tennessee to become the next Vols head coach, Soularie decided to go the junior college route while Vitello got settled.

In 2018, he was named an NJCAA Third-Team All-American and promptly made the shift to Knoxville a year later, starting in 54 games as a sophomore.

“[I followed Vitello] to Tennessee, because me and him had a really good connection, and it’s been really well from then to now,” Soularie said. “Sophomore year, it was a really good experience just to get on campus and play different schools, travel around and play in different states.”

His former ballclub is currently in the NCAA Regionals, and the Major League prospect is still keeping tabs on his old stomping grounds.

“Those are my guys, VFL [Vols for life] man.”

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