Norberto Obeso is greeted by his teammates during the lineup introductions for the home opener at Nat Bailey Stadium.
The Vancouver Canadians shook off the effects of a long bus ride back from Eugene and overcame an early setback by a player named Eugene to defeat the Everett AquaSox 7-1 in their home opener at Nat Bailey Stadium Tuesday night.
Eugene Helder belted a solo home run off the A&W Slug the Mug sign in left-center field to give Everett a 1-0 lead just two batters in. That was all C’s starter Jose Espada would allow as he pitched 4-2/3 innings of three-hit ball while walking one and striking out seven.
Espada would leave with a runner in scoring position after Osmy Guerrero walked and stole second. Lefty Juliandry Higuera came in and had trouble finding his form as he loaded the bases by hitting Ronald Rosario with a pitch and walking Joseph Rosa before striking out Helder to keep Everett off the board.
Vancouver had trouble with Everett starter Ryne Inman as he allowed just one baserunner through the first three innings in the form of a hit by pitch to Mattingly Romanin in the second. Bryan Lizardo came through with the C’s first hit with a two-out double in the fourth. Lizardo made it to third on a wild pitch and Owen Spiwak drew a walk but Inman froze Romanin on a 3-2 pitch for the inning-ending strikeout.
Vancouver would tie the game in the fifth on a sacrifice fly by Lance Jones to score Deiferson Barreto after he and Kevin Vicuna singled and Reggie Pruitt reached base on an error at second.
The C’s would bolt ahead in the sixth and it started with a one-out walk to Spiwak to force Inman from the game. AquaSox reliever Matt Clancy could not find the strike zone as he walked Romanin on four straight pitches and it was all downhill from there for the Everett southpaw. Barreto doubled to score Spiwak to put Vancouver ahead and an error at short on a ground ball by Matt Morgan scored Romanin from third. Vicuna followed with a two-run double to score Barreto and Morgan, who tripped between third and home but managed to scramble his way across the pentagon. Lance Jones and Norberto Obeso would tack on run-scoring singles to plate Vicuna and Jones respectively.
Higuera got through the sixth and seventh by working around two singles that including an inning-ending 4-3 double play to end the seventh. Bobby Eveld came in the eight and gave up a double to Rosa to start the seventh but a good throw by Jones in right and a quick tag by the alert Vicuna led to Rosa getting called out after being slow to return to second base after rounding the bag. It was not a good night for Rosa on the basepaths as he was cut down at third in the third on the back half of a 5-3-6 inning-ending double play.
Chris Hall entered the game in the ninth and induced a nifty 6-4-3 double play to erase a leadoff walk. Brayden Bouchey came in to get the final out, a fly ball into Pruitt’s glove in center field to secure the victory.
Barreto and Vicuna were the hit leaders with two apiece while Lizardo doubled and walked. Spiwak walked twice while Romanin walked and took one for the team.
Radar Gun Report
Jose Espada threw in the 91-94 MPH range with offspeed pitches from 82-84. Juliandry Higuera topped out at 95 and bottomed out at 79. Bobby Eveld reached 95 and was around 90-93. Chris Hall pitched in the 94-96 range while Brayden Bouchey had offerings from 80 to 86-88.
According to the C’s press notes, Juan Nunez and Dalton Rodriguez will get the starts in the final two games of the series at the Nat. Wednesday’s game is at 7:05 pm and Thursday’s game is the first nooner of the season at 1:05 pm. The 4-2 C’s remain one game back of the Tri-City Dust Devils in the Northwest League’s North Division. Everett is 2-4 and Spokane is 3-3.
The tallest players on the Everett AquaSox played Tuesday in designated hitter Jonas Lantigua and starter Ryne Inman. Both of them are 6-foot-5. The tallest player to appear for the C’s were 6-foot-6 pitcher Brayden Bouchey and 6-foot-5 hurler Bobby Eveld.