AquaSox open their 2018 season against the Hops of Hillsboro with hope!

The Everett AquaSox opened their 2018 season June 15th versus the Hillsboro Hops for a 5-game series. The Frogs were composed of another potential list of future major league ballplayers, including several recent Seattle Mariners draft picks. Just like every season, they were a new team having only been together for just a few days. Manager Jose Moreno was back to lead the Frogs to their goal, to bring the 2018 Northwest League championship back to Everett. It was Friday night, the sun was out, and the stadium was filled of screaming AquaSox fans who were in mid-season form cheering loudly like it was a playoff game. It was opening night, nothing could go wrong on opening night or could it?

Game 1: The first two innings breezed by as both teams went scoreless. Lefty Max Roberts made his 2018 debut striking out 3 Hillsboro Hops and allowing no hits as he was dominating from the first pitch. We all thought “who is this kid and how long will he be a Frog?”. The Frogs bats were silent as well as only 2018 Mariner draft pick Matt Sanders achieved his first major league hit. In the 3rd inning, Max fell apart. He was a victim of the long ball twice. The Hops scored 3 runs on 4 hits. Everett continued to be silent but did get their second base hit by 2018 Mariner draft pick Nick Rodriguez.

In the fifth inning, the AquaSox brought in a new pitcher as Max Roberts was done for the evening. Except for the 3rd inning, he really didn’t pitch that bad. Returning pitcher David Ellingson came in the ball game and was less as sharp. He got hit hard and was lucky to only give up two runs as the Hops took a 5-0 lead.

Everett finally scored their first run an inning later as returning Frog Jansiel Rivera crushed a solo home run to right field. An inning later outfielder Ryan Garcia hit a solo home run as well. Now it was only 5-2. Was there a comeback on the horizon? The answer was no as the Hillsboro Hops pitching was lights out. Final score 5-2.

Game 2: Another beautiful night in Everett with the stands filled for former Frog and current Major League player Chris Taylor Bobblehead Night. This game turned out to be baseball’s version of “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” in reverse order.

The Ugly: In the top half of the first, in an inning that seemed to last at least an hour, the Hops plated 12 runs on 6 hits and 6 walks and one hit batter. The AquaSox went through two pitchers in the inning with starting pitcher being pulled after one out. After only ½ inning the Frogs were down 12-0. The only thought racing our minds was how long will we have to wait until the post-game fireworks.

The Bad: With the bases loaded of Frogs the bottom of the 4th inning, the power went out in Memorial Stadium. The sun had not set yet, so the fans and players could all see what was going on, unfortunately the ballgame had to be suspended until they could figure this out and restore. After 22 minutes and learning that the power surge happened because of a bad transformer in downtown Everett, the ball game resumed. The offense of the AquaSox would leave 9 runners on base for the ballgame squandering too many opportunities.

The Good: After those 12 runs, the Hops went silent the remaining 8 innings, plating 0 runs on 3 hits. The AquaSox however lit up the night sky in more ways then one. They would score 6 runs on 11 hits over the next 9 innings. It wasn’t a victory as they lost 12-6, but they turned it into an exciting ballgame. The stars of the night were 2b Connor Hoover, LF Keegan McGovern and DH Geoandry Montilla who all had 2 hits apiece. After 2 games, there was a feeling that this team would breakout soon. They all seemed be starting to click with one another.

Game 3: Father’s Day at Memorial stadium saw the debut of AquaSox LH Orlando Razo, a 16th round pick of the Mariners in 2017. He didn’t disappoint. The Hops took an early 1-0 lead in the 2nd inning. The Frogs would retaliate with a run of their own on a RBI single by catcher Jake Anchia, a 2018 7th round pick by the Seattle Mariners. An inning later Frog’s shortstop and Mariners 2018 draft pick Connor Kopach belted his 1st home run of the season. The Frogs had their first lead of this young season. There was a buzz in the stadium. In the 4th, the Hops would tie it at 2. Starting pitcher Orlando Razo would pitch into the 6th inning, a rarity for the Frogs especially this early into the season. He would be pulled after 5 2/3 innings after an amazing performance. Razo would finish with 5 strikeouts and allowed only 4 hits and 2 runs to a hot-hitting Hops team. The bullpen couldn’t keep the tie and the Frogs went silent. Hillsboro would score a late run to win 3-2.

Besides Orlando Razo, the other star of the game was SS Connor Kopach who finished with 3 hits.

Game 4: The Frogs came out knowing they needed their 1st win and boy they didn’t disappoint. RH pitcher Jheyson Caraballo took the mound and outperformed fellow pitcher Orlando Razo. He was completely dominating from the opening pitch. The ballgame was scoreless until the bottom of the 3rd. Jansiel Rivera would bring home the Frogs first run of the ballgame on a RBI single. In the top of the 4th inning, the Hops would tie it up on a lazy fly ball that would barely clear the wall in left field. Fans were wondering if the Hops were going to take over this ballgame after what had happened the last 3 games. Jheyson didn’t disappoint and put a stop to that. He ended up pitching 6 innings of two hit ball and gave up only one run. He only struck out two walked 2 but he was spot on with only 77 pitches thrown. In innings 4-7 the Frogs would score 6 more runs and would win the ballgame 7-1. One of the highlights was Catcher Jake Anchia who crushed a 2-run home run to left for his 1st home run of this young season. Pitcher Tyler Jackson came in to pitch the final 3 innings for the AquaSox giving up only 2 hits and getting the save.

Game 5: Going into game five Tuesday night at Memorial Stadium, the AquaSox and their fans could feel the moment shifting in their favor. Can they pull out a win and go 2-3 on this young season? Lefty Michael Plassmeyer started on the mound for the Frogs. He was coming off his last season at the University of Missouri where the Mariners drafted him in the 4th round. He would quickly retire the side, striking out 2 of the 3 batters. The Frogs would take an early 1-0 with a run in the bottom half of the inning.

In the top of the 2nd inning, pitcher Ivan Fortunato took over for the Frogs. He was quite ineffective as he gave up 3 runs and just like that, the Hops lead 3-1. In the bottom half, the Frogs plated 3 more runs to take the lead, the highlight being a solo home-run by Jansiel Rivera. Hillsboro would score in consecutive innings to go up 5-4. In the bottom of the 4th inning, with a runner on base, DH Josh Stowers would come to the plate. This was Josh’s 1st game on this young season. The Seattle Mariners drafted him in the 2nd round of the MLB draft and there are high expectations for this kid. He didn’t disappoint us, as he crushed a 2-run homerun to left. The AquaSox took a 6-5 lead and never looked back. AquaSox relievers Jamal Wade, Dayeison Arias and Joey Gerber would pitch the final 5 innings of perfect baseball, striking out 9 Hops batters as the Frogs pulled out a 7-5 victory and secure their 2nd win of the season. Shortstop Connor Kopach had 3 more hits and continued his hot start of this young season.

The AquaSox finished the home stand at 2-3, not bad for a team just getting to know each other. Some stars shone and some struggled but in the end this team rose to the occasion and played together as a team. The Frogs head on the road north of the border to play Vancouver before coming back to play Tri-Cities in a 3-game series. Saturday night is the always popular Star Wars night. On Sunday the Frogs become the Conquistadores as part of there Noche de Diversion and Monday is Pride night.

This is going to be a summer to remember in Everett. It just has that feeling and the talent has the potential to be phenomenal if they Mariners don’t break it up too much. Jose Moreno is a top-notch manager who is the perfect person to bring a championship back to Everett. Hope to see you at Memorial Stadium in Everett this summer. You will not regret it.

Go Frogs!

 

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Brian joined the SSU in 2017 and covers the Everett AquaSox. I’m a graduate of Washington State University and I’m a die-hard baseball fan.

News Reporter
Brian joined the SSU in 2017 and covers the Everett AquaSox. I'm a graduate of Washington State University and I'm a die-hard baseball fan.