The Vancouver Canadians went 0-6 against the Everett AquaSox but they are 1-0 against the Everett Conquistadores. The C’s got back in the win column with a 7-3 victory over the Frogs at Everett Memorial Stadium Thursday. The AquaSox are going with their alter ego Conquistadores for their entire series with the Canadians as part of the Copa de la Diversión (Fun Cup) festivities to celebrate Latin and Hispanic cultures in baseball.
Will Robertson put the C’s in flight by launching a two-run home run off Tim Elliott to right-center field to score a Trevor Schwecke single in the second inning.
The C’s used some small ball to push across another run when Cameron Eden dropped a bunt single and Philip Clarke did likewise with the Everett defence putting on a shift as he placed the ball up the third base side. Yorman Rodriguez singled to load the bases before Schwecke lifted a sacrifice fly to bring in Eden.
Vancouver made it 4-0 in the sixth when Rodriguez doubled off Jorge Benitez in the sixth and scored on a Luis De Los Santos one-out base hit.
The C’s upped their lead to six in the seventh inning. Tanner Morris drew a leadoff walk but was thrown out trying to steal second. Eden followed with a triple to center and Clarke followed with a walk. Rodriguez would double to right field to score Eden and send Clarke to third before a wild pitch by Benitez brought in Clarke.
Everett broke up the shutout bid by Vancouver in the seventh. Luke Gillingham—who stranded two runners to get the final out of the sixth—was greeted by singles from Juan Camacho and Austin Shenton but bounced back by striking out Cash Gladfelter and Carter Bins.
Josh Almonte took over for Gillingham and uncorked a wild pitch to advance the runners. He walked Miguel Perez to load the bases and walked Patrick Frick to score Camacho. A passed ball by Clarke saw Shenton cross home plate with Everett’s second run. Almonte walked DeAires Moses to load the bases again.
Andy McGuire was brought in from the bullpen and he put out the fire by striking out Utah Jones on a 3-2 pitch to leave the bases loaded.
The Frogs would creep a bit closer in the eighth inning when McGuire issued a one-out walk to Camacho. Shenton doubled Camacho to third before a Gladfelter groundout brought Camacho in with Everett’s third run.
Vancouver added the game’s final run in the ninth when Clarke was plunked by a Brock Minich pitch. Clarke made it second on a wild pitch and came home on a Robertson single.
McGuire closed it out with a one-hit ninth to pick up his first save of the season. That preserved an outstanding effort by Vancouver starter Grant Townsend. The pride of Lake Tapps, Washington put together 5-2/3 shutout innings by scattering four hits and a walk while striking out six.
Townsend wound up facing the minimum over his first five innings of work. He induced an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play in the first to wipe out a Utah Jones leadoff single. A 4-6-3 twin-killing off the bat of Gladfelter took care of a Shenton single in the second. The third inning saw a strike ’em out/throw ’em out inning-ending double play as Clarke threw out Perez after he reached on a base hit.
Townsend sat down eight in a row before a Perez walk and Frick single started the sixth inning. He got the next two hitters in a row—punctuated with a strikeout of Jones—before Gillingham came in to get the final out of the sixth. Townsend’s ERA is down to 1.93, which places him fifth in the Northwest League.
The first inning for the right-hander from Oral Roberts may have been the key to this game. Morris and Eden began the top of the first with walks but a Clarke double play ball took the air out of the balloon for the C’s offence. Townsend was able to respond with a shutout inning of his own after getting a double play ball.
Vancouver had a chance to add to their lead in the eighth off Fred Villarreal with a two-out single by Ronny Brito and a walk by Morris but Eden was called out on strikes.
Morris had three walks on the night to give him 20 on the season. That ties him with Hillsboro’s Andy Yerzy for second place in the Northwest League. The leader is Tri-City’s Reinaldo Illarazza with 27.
Rodriguez led the C’s with three hits—including a couple of doubles—on the night to boost his average to .369. That leaves him 11 points back of Shenton for the league lead.
Eden was on base three times with two hits and a walk. He has a five-game hitting streak along with Clarke, who singled and walked.
Gabriel Ponce is slated to get the ball for Vancouver in the second game of this three game set. Mariners second-round pick Brandon Williamson is expected to be on the hill for Everett. Juan Diaz is listed as Saturday’s starter for Vancouver. Seattle first round pick George Kirby is expected to make his professional debut. Game times are 7:05 pm Friday and Saturday. Rob Fai will have the call on Sportsnet 650 and CanadiansBaseball.com.