Funko Field Opens Up a New Era in Dramatic Fashion!

The Everett AquaSox opened their 2019 home season on Friday night in their brand-new ballpark, well sort of brand-new.  In the off-season Funko Inc., whose headquarters are in downtown Everett, bought the naming rights to Everett Memorial Stadium.  The field is now known as Funko Field at Everett Memorial Stadium.  There is a ginormous statue in right field named Freddy Funko, the official mascot of Funko.  As far as the fans concerned, this was a brand-new ballpark for the Frogs as opening night was upon us and the fans were lined up for blocks, anxious for their Webbly Funko collectible giveaway.

It was a sell-out crowd as the Frogs opened the 7-game home-stand against the Salem-Kizer Volcanoes.  Everett came in with a 3-4 record, after losing 3 or 4 against the Boise Hawks.  Seattle Mariners 2018 11th round pick and 19-year old sensation Damon Casetta-Stubbs started on the mound for Everett and for the first five innings he dominated the Volcanoes.  Both teams would go scoreless until the 2nd inning as the Frogs would open a 3-0 lead on a 3-run shot by RF Cash Gladfelter.  In the 3rd inning the Volcanoes would continue to go hitless/scoreless as Damon would give up his first base-runner of the ballgame via walk.  He would quickly be gunned down trying to steal by catcher Carter Bins, chosen in the 11th round of the 2019 draft.

CF Miguel Perez would go yard for his second home run to put the Frogs up 4-0 in the 3rd inning.  Salem-Kizer would continue to be overwhelmed by Damon’s pitching as they didn’t get their first hit until inning 5.  That base-runner would quickly be erased on a double play.  In the bottom half of inning 5, the Frog’s would increase their lead to 6-0 on a 2-run shot by Marysville local boy Trent Tinglestad.  After five, the Frogs were up significantly, and their pitcher was throwing a 1-hit shut-out.  Things were looking up on opening night for Everett, how could things go wrong?

The sixth inning was perhaps the worst inning of Damon’s young career.  He quickly loaded the bases on 3 straight base hits.  Damon would settle down with getting the next two outs on a sacrifice fly and a strike out.  With a 6-1 lead and two outs he got this. The next batter reached base on a throwing error which cut the lead to 6-2.  That was the end of Damon’s evening, still a quality start we all thought.  The bullpen came in and blew that theory out the window. By the end of the inning, the Frogs were tied 6-6, blowing the quality start by Damon Casetta-Stubbs.  The Frogs weren’t done though, plating three runs on three hits to go up 9-6.  After that, the Frogs closed the door on their offense.  The bullpen would allow the Volcanoes to come back and eventually tie the game in the 9th inning and win the game in extra innings.  The Frogs let the game get away from them as they fell 10-9 to the Volcanoes.

Saturday night the AquaSox looked to bounce back in game two versus the Volcanoes.  Juan Then, a recent acquisition from the New York Yankees took the mound for the Frogs.  Juan would survive 4 innings in an unimpressive performance for his first time back with the Mariner organization.  Then would last 4 innings giving up four runs four hits while striking out one batter.  Now is the time to shine for this kid, and after 68 pitches his evening ended earlier than expected.  In the bottom of the fourth inning, the Frogs would finally get their first hit of the ballgame and plate their first run.  Local boy 3B Austin Shenton plated a run on a RBI single to cut the lead to 4-1.

Austin would get 3 hits on the night as the Frogs would only have 7 hits for the entire night.  The lead would increase to 6-2 for the Volcanoes after six innings.  Meanwhile Everett would finally piece together one more run in the 7th inning.  On Robbie Cano Bobblehead night and postgame fireworks, the Frogs would fall 6-2 to the Volcanoes as they saw their record fall to 3-6 on the young season.

Sunday afternoon pitcher Kelven Nunez took the mound for the AquaSox and he was phenomenal.  He would go five innings, allowing 4 hits and 2 earned runs while striking out 4 batters.  This was a performance that Everett was looking for from their pitching staff.  Salem-Kizer would score 2 early runs in the first inning.  In the bottom of the 2nd, the Frogs would manufacture three runs on three hits to go up 3-2.  The Volcanoes would quickly tie it up, but in the bottom of the 3rd inning the Frogs would score 3 more runs to take the lead for good.

The highlight of the inning was a bases loaded 2-run single by Juan Camacho.  In inning four, Everett would score 2 more runs to go up 8-3.  19-year old Robert Perez would belt a 2-run homerun.  The bullpen would pitch the final four innings for the AquaSox as their offense went silent.  Salem-Kizer would make things interesting by plating three runs over the final four innings but it wasn’t enough.  Everett would take game 3 of the series as their record would climb to 4-6 on the young season.

Monday night, the Frogs looked to split the four-game series versus the Volcanoes with a win.  Seattle Mariner Sam Tuivailala took the mound for Everett on a rehab assignment.  Sam had trouble locating his pitches and before we all knew it, he was pulled before inning one was over.  By the end of the inning the score was 7-0.  The Frogs were in for a long night from what it looked like.

The bullpen took over and would pitch the remainder of the game.  Except for the 4th inning where the Volcanoes would score six more runs to go up 13-0, they held Salem-Kizer in check.  In the bottom of inning number six, local boy Trent Tingelstad would belt a 2-run homerun.  In the bottom of the 9th inning, Carter Bins would belt his 1st homerun of the year but it wasn’t enough.  The final score was 13-3 as the Frogs were happy to see the Volcanoes leave town.

Tuesday night the Frogs opened a 3-game series versus the arch-rivals from north of the border, the Vancouver Canadians. Vancouver always gave the AquaSox a fit, and their fans always traveled well as there were a ton of Canadian fans in attendance.  Seattle Mariners 4th round draft pick Tim Elliott pitched an ineffective first two innings followed by Puerto Rican phenom Jorge Benitez who also didn’t have his best stuff.  The two combined to allow 5 runs over four innings.  Everett would score four runs over the first two innings to take a 4-2 lead.

Patrick Frick drove in one run and Austin Shenton had two base hits over those two innings for some of the highlights.  With all said and done, three Frog relievers took over and pitched shutout ball, allowing only 3 baserunners the rest of the game.  Everett’s offense would go silent from innings 3 through 7 as the Canadians maintained a 5-4 lead.

In the bottom inning 8, things would change.  Everett would manufacture a run that ended with a sacrifice fly by Luis Joseph to tie the ballgame at 5.  In the bottom of the night, the Frogs would win on a walk off walk by Miguel Perez.  Everett would walk away with a 6-5 win as the crowd went nuts.  The team stormed the field and mauled Miguel Perez.  Game one went to the AquaSox as the record improved to 5-7.

Damon Casetta-Stubbs started the ballgame on Wednesday for the Frogs.  We all hoped he would bounce back with another strong outing after his opening night performance.  It wasn’t his night as he would pitch into the fourth inning without getting an out.  Damon would give up 5 runs on 6 hits and 6 walks, not a Damon Casetta-Stubbs performance.  Everett would take an early 2-0 lead on a two-run home run by 3B Ryan Court.

The Canadians would score five runs over the next three innings to go up 5-2.  In the 4th inning the Frogs would cut the lead to 5-3 on a RBI single by Carter Bins.  The bullpen took over the final 5 plus innings and held the Canadians in check giving up only one run.  In the sixth inning, the Frogs would plate 3 more runs on some sloppy pitching by Vancouver to go up 6-5.

After the Canadians tied it up in the 7th inning, the AquaSox would come back.  In inning number 8, after manufacturing runners on base, local boy Trent Tingelstad would work a walk to bring in run number 7 for the Frogs.  Nate Fisher would close it out for Everett as they won their 2nd game in a row to see their record to 6-7.  Thursday night the Frogs would look to go for the sweep, a rare occurrence for Everett over their archrivals.

The fans brought out their brooms on Thursday night as the AquaSox were looking for the sweep against the Vancouver Canadians.  Sam Tuivailala took the mound for the Frogs once again during his rehab assignment.  This time, he pitched quite well for the Frogs, much better than the other night.  Outfielder Billy Cooke hit a lead-off home run for the AquaSox to put them up 1-0.  An inning later, the Vancouver tied it up, but that was all the runs they would manufacture.  Everett’s pitching was remarkable.  Juan Then was sensational this time around.  He would pitch five innings allowing only three hits and struck out seven Canadians.

Juan had the performance of the night.  This is the reason why the Seattle Mariners traded back for him with the New York Yankees.  Juan Then knew the time was now and he showed it!!   Everett would plate six more runs over the ballgame to go up 7-1, including Carter Bin’s 2nd home run of the young season.  Everett would win the ballgame and increase their winning streak to 3 games.

Everett now goes on the road for 3 more games with the Tri-City Dust Devils before returning home July 1st-3rd.  They will play a short 3-game series with the Boise Hawks before going back on the road.  The AquaSox seem to be coming together as a whole.  With a record of 7-7, Everett fans got to like what they see from these young kids.  We hope to see you Monday night when they return home.

Go Frogs!!

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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.