First Half Title Comes Up Just Short: Frogs Look to Start Second Half on a Positive Note!

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Pictured: Trent Tingelstad (Shari Somerfield/Everett AquaSox)

The Everett AquaSox returned home on July 11th to face off against the Vancouver Canadians.  Things were going well as they opened the short 3-game homestand against their arch-nemesis from just north of the border.  The Frogs were tied for first with a chance to possibly become the leaders of the northern division before they headed on a brutal six-game road trip against the team they were trying to beat, the Spokane Indians (Tri-City as well they would face).  What could go wrong, first place should be a piece of cake?   Little did they know; they would go through a tough two week stretch with an unforeseen outcome.

Game one fourth round pick Tim Elliott took the mound and pitched perhaps the worst performance of his young major league career. He would go three innings and would leave the ballgame down 3-0.  Meanwhile, the Frog offense went ice cold until the seventh inning, by then it was too late.  Kip Rollins took over for Tim in the 4th inning and pitched a perfect inning, quite an impressive performance.  In the fifth inning, young phenom Jorge Benitez took over and pitched an unimpressive three innings for the young kid.  He gave up 3 runs on 4 hits and 3 walks, not a Jorge Benitez performance we have all grown to love.  Through 6 ½ innings, the Frogs were 6-0 and the way the offense was playing, it felt like the game was over.  In innings seven and eight, the Frogs would manufacture 3 runs due to poor pitching by the Canadians.  But it wasn’t enough.  Vancouver would score a late run and would take game one 7-3.  Star of the game was 3B Austin Shenton (who since has been promoted to West Virginia) who went 3-4, increasing his average to .380 with an OPS (on base plus slugging) of 1.013.  Both teams had their fair share of baserunners, combining to leave 42 baserunners on.

Friday night lights would see the debut of Seattle Mariners 2nd round pick Brandon Williamson starting for the Frogs in a game that the AquaSox would allow 17 hits and commit 4 errors in the process.  Could they still pull out the victory, because this is minor league baseball?  Brandon would make it through inning one unscathed.  In the bottom half, the Frogs took an early 1-0 lead on a sacrifice fly by Robert Perez.  In the 2nd, Williamson wouldn’t make it out of the inning giving up 2 runs without getting an out.  Juan Mercedes would take over for the Frogs and wouldn’t pitch any better, going 5 plus innings.  Vancouver would go up 4-1 and hold that lead until the bottom of the fifth.  The AquaSox would plate 3 runs to tie it up, the highlight being Austin Shenton’s first professional home run.  Those would be all the runs scored for the Frogs as their bats went dormant once again.  Vancouver would score five more runs over innings 7 through 9 to win the ballgame 9-4.  Everett would see their record drop to 14-14, but they were still in it with nine games to go in the first half of the Northwest League season.

Saturday night would see the premiere of Mariners first round pick George Kirby for the Frogs and he showed why that he was chosen as the first pick.  Kirby would pitch two scoreless innings allowing one hit while striking out two batters, quite a first impression by the young kid.  Deivy Florido took over for Kirby and threw an impressive 5 plus innings that took them into the 8th inning.  Billy Cooke opened the scoring for the Frogs with a 2-run homerun.  Robert Perez would plate Mr. Cooke with a sacrifice fly in the sixth inning to go up 3-0 for the AquaSox.  It wasn’t until the 8th inning that the Canadians would plate their runs, securing two runs against Florido and the bullpen.  Everett would come right back with three runs of their own on a RBI double by Robert Perez scoring Mr. Cooke and another Austin Shenton 2-run home run.  At games end, Everett would be the winners with a score of 6-2.

Fortunately for Everett, Spokane was also having trouble securing wins, as both teams opened a pivotal 3-game series with possibly the division on the line!  Spokane came into game one with a one-game lead over Everett.  Kelvin Nunez would take the ball for the Frogs as they opened game one.  Kelvin would pitch an impressive 5 innings allowing only 2-runs, but would it be enough?  Spokane would take an early 1-0 lead after one inning.  In the 2nd, Everett would manufacture a run to tie it up, but Spokane quickly responded to go up 2-1.  The game would become a pitcher’s duel until the 7th inning.  Everett would plate 5 runs to go up 6-2.  The highlight of the inning was a 2-run shot by Cash Gladfelter.  Spokane would score one run in the bottom.  Final score 6-3 as both teams would be tied for first with records of (16-14).

Game two Damon Casetta-Stubbs took the hill for the Frogs, but it was a night he would take back if he could.  It wasn’t his best performance, but it didn’t help with the offense not scoring runs for him either.  Over the last few years, Spokane has given Everett a run for their money.  Spokane took an early 2-0 lead after three innings.  In the 4th, Cash Gladfelter belted a 2-run double to cut the lead in half.  Damon would pitch into the fifth, only to allow 2 more runs to the hungry Indians of Spokane.  He would be pulled after 4 2/3rds of an inning.  With a score of 4-1, Spokane put it into high gear, looking to close out this game and regain the lead.  Everett would score 3 runs in the seventh inning to tie the ballgame at four apiece.  The highlights of the inning were a RBI double by Luis Joseph and a 2-run single by Patrick Frick.  We had a whole new ballgame folks, so we thought.  Frog pitcher Brock Minich would allow a solo home run in the 8th inning and the Indians took the lead for good.  Final score was 5-4 as Spokane took game two.

Game three Everett had Tim Elliott take the mound, looking for redemption after his last outing.  He would give up 4 runs in inning number two as Spokane went up 4-0 early.  Jorge Benitez took over for the Frogs and pitched the next five innings striking out 8 batters, but he gave up another run as Spokane went up 5-0.  Everett was completely fooled at the plate, not getting any hits until late in the game (they ended up with two).  In the 8th inning, Cash Gladfelter came to the plate and belted a grand slam home run to cut the lead to 5-4, but unfortunately it wasn’t enough.  Spokane took the game and the series to increase their division lead by two games as Everett fell back to .500 on the season (16-16).

The AquaSox hit the road with their next stop in Tri-Cities against the Dust Devils on Wednesday the 17th of July.  Game one saw the return of Brandon Williamson who pitched into the 2nd inning but got replaced by Juan Mercedes after his pitch count reached its limit.  Brandon didn’t allow any runs and Juan did the same until late in the ballgame when he gave up one unearned run.  He was absolutely on top of his game.  Everett would manufacture 3 early runs and lead 3-0 after three innings, highlighted by a RBI single from Cesar Izturis Jr.  That was all they needed as the bullpen closed out the game and the Frogs pulled out a 7-1 victory when the game was over.  Their record increased to (17-16) as they kept within two games of Spokane.  Both teams combined to leave 36 runners on base during the ballgame as they both had trouble manufacturing more runs.  Patrick Frick and Izturis Jr. led the ballclub with two hits apiece.

George Kirby took the mound on Thursday night as the Frogs were looking to win their 3rd in a row and hopefully gain ground on Spokane.  Kirby pitched another dominant two innings allowing one base hit and zero runs.  Everett would take an early lead 1-0 on a RBI double by Izturis Jr.  The bullpen for Everett would take over an allow 5 runs over the remaining 8 innings.  Tri-Cities would tie it at 1 in the third inning.  In the fifth, Everett would plate 2 more runs on a steal of home by DeAires Moses and a RBI single by Izturis Jr.  It wasn’t enough as Tri-Cities would go up 4-3 after five innings as they scored three more runs.  In the 7th inning, Connor Hoover would triple in a run to tie it for the Frogs.  The game would go into extra innings as Everett failed to score and watched Tri-Cities walk it off in victory in the bottom of the tenth inning.  Spokane would win their game as the Frogs fell three games out of first place with four games to go.

Kelvin Nunez started for the Frogs game three of the series, looking to lead Everett to the series win.  He pitched five innings giving up 3 runs.  Everett would see their offense go dormant once again, a trend that has happened a lot this year, and fail to score a run until the 7th inning to cut the lead to 3-1.  The AquaSox bullpen would give up 3 runs in the seventh to watch Tri-City increase their lead to 6-1 and see their first-half chances possibly go down the drain.  In the 9th inning, the Frogs would plate 4 runs, but it wasn’t enough as the fell to the Dust Devils 6-5.  The highlight of the 9th inning was a 2-run single by Trent Tingelstad to cut the lead to one run.  It wasn’t enough.  Spokane lost the game, so the Frogs still had a chance at the division being behind by three games with three to go.

Game one was under the beautiful skies of Everett on Saturday night.  Everett liked their chances because they were at home and Damon Casetta-Stubbs was the AquaSox starter.  What could go wrong?  Spokane took an early 3-0 lead, but Everett battled back. The Frogs would score 2 runs in the third and 2 runs in the fourth inning to go up 4-3.  Highlights of the inning were a 2-run shot by Trent Tingelstad and RBI hits by Luis Joseph and Billy Cooke.  In the 6th inning, Carter Bins would go yard with a 2-run moon shot to put Everett up by three runs.  The bullpen would shut down the Indians and allow Everett to pull away with a 6-4 victory to go (18-18) and cut the lead to 2 games with two more games to go.  Stubbs would get the win and watch his record go to 3-0 on the season.

Game two was on Sunday afternoon.  Tim Elliott recovered from his previous outings by going three innings and allowed no runs with one hit.  Everett would lead the ballgame 3-0 after six innings on three solo home runs by Connor Hoover, Luis Joseph and Cash Gladfelter.  In the 7th inning, the Indians would tie it at three when they manufactured three runs off Jorge Benitez.  In the bottom of the 7th, the Frogs reclaimed the lead on a RBI hit by Izturis Jr.  Brock Minich would pitch the final two innings for Everett giving up 2 runs as Spokane took the lead and pulled out a tight ballgame from the Frogs winning 5-4 and winning the first half northern division.

Monday night, the AquaSox were looking for the series victory at least as they closed out the first half against the Indians.  The dogs were barking, and the Frogs were jumping as Everett took an early lead on the always popular “Bark in the Park” promotion where the fans could bring their dogs too the ballgame.  Brandon Williamson pitched the first two innings in dominating form.  The bullpen took over that an were quite ineffective with Juan Mercedes continuing his inconsistency with allowing six runs to score in his five innings of work.  Behind 6-2, the Frogs came back with a 2-run home run by Robert Perez and a RBI single by Cade Marlowe.  Mr. Frick, known as “Patrick,” tied it up in the 8th inning with a RBI single.  The game went to extra innings with Spokane winning 9-7 to close out the first half with a 4-game margin over the Frogs.

Everett AquaSox have had a tough 2019 season but have played well together.  Finishing with a 18-20 record and securing 2nd place is quite impressive for the young team comprised of many Mariner draft picks over the last couple of years.  The pitching has been strong with the hitting being inconsistent.  While losing their best player being promoted to West Virginia, they still stuck together and played their hearts out.

The 2nd half of the season started on Tuesday night on the road against Vancouver.  They will return home on Funko Friday against Tri-Cities for three games.  Everett has a challenge ahead of them with all the changes in the organization (players getting promoted, demoted).  Last night they welcomed in a new manager as the AquaSox said good-bye to long time manager Jose Moreno.  We wish him the best of luck in his future endeavors.  Everett welcomes Louis Boyd as their 13th manager in their franchise history.  He was the infield coach for the Modesto Nuts before his promotion yesterday.  Boyd was a Mariner draft pick in 2017 and played infield briefly for the Frogs in 2017.  He is excited with his new job and welcomes the challenge as being the manager for the Frogs.  We at the Seattle Sports Union can’t wait to see what he brings to the table and welcome him with open arms to Everett.

We hope to see you on Friday night as we fill those seats in Everett and cheer on our AquaSox!  Please welcome in Louis Boyd as our new manager and whatever new changes the roster might bring.

Go Frogs!

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