The force was not with the Vancouver Canadians as the Everett AquaSox overran the Canadians 8-4 at their rebel base in Nat Bailey Stadium Wednesday night.
The AquaSox got to Vancouver starter Hunter Gregory early and often. He got ahead of leadoff hitter Noelvi Marte—Seattle’s number two prospect according to MLB Pipeline—with two strikes but gave up an infield single to short two pitches later. Gregory was also 0-2 on Spencer Packard but he singled on the next pitch. Three pitches later, David Sheaffer rolled a ball that was clearly foul down the third base line but it was ruled fair by umpires Kellen Martin and Matt Blackboro. C’s third baseman Riley Tirotta had a chance to scoop up the ball and touch the third base bag to force out Marte but Tirotta mistakenly assumed the umpires would get the call right. Gregory got Alberto Rodriguez to fly out to shallow center field and struck out Dariel Gomez looking. Just when it looked like Gregory would get out of the bases loaded jam, Justin Lavey flared a single to right to score Marte and Packard on the first pitch he saw. Andy Thomas followed with a single up the middle on a 3-2 pitch to bring home Shaffer and Lavey to make it 4-0 Everett.
The AquaSox would boot a field goal to add to their lead in the third inning off Gregory. A one-out Gomez single and Lavey walk were driven home on a three-run home run by Thomas to dead center field.
Vancouver struck back with two runs in the bottom of the third. Andrés Sosa led off with a stand-up double to let field off Everett starter Jimmy Kingsbury and traded places with Zach Britton who socked an RBI double over the head of Packard in center field to get the C’s on the board.
Vancouver struck back with two runs in the bottom of the third. Andrés Sosa led off with a stand-up double to let field off Everett starter Jimmy Kingsbury and traded places with Zach Britton who socked an RBI double over the head of Packard in center field to get the C’s on the board. Leo Jiménez would hit Vancouver’s third double of the inning with two outs when his double went off the chair of the security guard in left field to score Britton.
Sosa started another Canadians rally in the fifth with a double off the manual scoreboard in center field off Kingsbury. Britton got Sosa over to third with a base hit to left. Hugo Cardona then hit a ground ball to second that was booted by Lavey and that allowed Sosa to score and Britton to reach second base. Britton would get to third when Addison Barger forced out Cardona on a 4-6 fielder’s choice. Barger would steal second base to put two runners in scoring position but the best the C’s could manage was a Jiménez sacrifice fly to center.
The Frogs scored the final run of the game in the eighth with a two-out rally against Vancouver reliever Thomas Ruwe. Gomez and Lavey kept the inning going with a double and a walk respectively. Ruwe should have been out of the inning when Thomas lifted a fly ball to shallow left field. It appeared the shortstop Barger was going to make the catch. It appeared Tirotta and Barger were trying to determine who would catch the ball but it dropped in front of Barger and that allowed Gomez to score Everett’s eighth run.
Vancouver’s first baserunner was Barger as he reached on a Lavey error at second base with two outs in the first inning.
The C’s first hit was a double off the right field wall by P.K. Morris to start the second but it was wasted after three fly balls out.
Miguel Hiraldo was robbed of a hit in the fourth inning when Lavey snared a sharp grounder at second.
Tirotta had a leadoff double to right-center in the sixth off AquaSox reliever Fred Villarreal and got to third on a two-out passed ball by Thomas but Sosa lined out to first to end the inning.
Jiménez worked a leadoff walk in the eighth off Everett reliever Jackson Sigman. Despite a balk and a Tirotta one-out walk, Sigman struck out the side as did Villarreal in a 1-2-3 seventh. Evan Johnson—a college teammate of 2019 and 2021 C’s outfielder Will Roberston at Creighton—finished the game off with a clean ninth that featured two whiffs.
Britton and Sosa had two hits apiece at the top and bottom of the order. Jiménez doubled and walked and had a sac fly and Tirotta doubled and walked. Morris also had a double.
Barger, Garrett Spain and Hugo Cardona were all 0-for-4 with Barger stealing his fourth base and Cardona getting an RBI. Cardona replaced Trevor Schwecke in right field in the top of the third. Schwecke flied out to center in his lone at-bat in the first. That ended his 13-game hitting streak.
The Canadians were a woeful 3-for-18 with runners in scoring position, leaving seven men on. They also struck out 11 times.
Gregory—who is now wearing number 32 instead of 43—gave up seven runs on seven hits and had a strikeout-walk total of 3-3. He had at least one baserunner in his three innings, stranding a two-out walk to Packard in the second.
Abdiel Mendoza kept the AquaSox in check with three shutout innings on two hits and two walks while striking out six. He stranded a leadoff double to Packard in the fourth and got out of a bases-loaded jam in the fifth. Lavey singled to right and got to second when Cardona mishandled the ball. Thomas walked and he and Lavey would pull off a double steal. Marte loaded the bases with a two-out walk but Mendoza got Packard to hit a tapper back to the mound. Mendoza finished up by striking out the side swinging in a perfect sixth.
Will McAffer got Thomas to ground into a 4-6-3 double play to erase a Lavey leadoff walk in the seventh. However, Cole Barr drew a walk before Windsor, Ontario native Myles Miller reached base when Sosa was called for catcher’s interface. Marte also walked to load the bases but Ruwe got Packard to foul out to third. Ruwe would load the bases himself in the eighth on a two-out double by Gomez, a walk to Lavey and a single by Thomas but Ruwe struck out Barr swinging. Ruwe gave up a run on two hits and a walk but struck out three in 2-1/3 innings.
Radar Gun Rundown
Gregory lit up the radar gun at 97 miles per hour and was in the 93-96 range and was also at 79-85. He had strikeouts at 85 and 93.
Mendoza was in the 79-92 range with punchouts at 86, 86 , 84, 85 and 86. McAffer reached 95 and was as low as 82. Ruwe was around 93-96 and 80-82 with whiffs of 94 and 91.
Thursday’s game has been postponed due to rain. The teams will play a doubleheader at 1:05 p.m. Saturday with a 30-40 minute break in between.
Lefthander Naswell Paulino was set to throw the first pitch for Vancouver Thursday but will presumably be pushed back to Friday for a 1:05 p.m. start. The game can been seen on MiLB.TV and heard on CanadiansBaseball.com.
The Canadians are one game below .500 at 10-11. Some factoids to stew over from Tyler Zickel‘s press notes.
- Vancouver leads the Northwest League with seven triples.
- They have scored their most runs in the seventh inning with 25.
- The Canadians have been hit by a league-high 16 pitches.
- The club also leads the league with 26 unearned runs, just over one per game.