Everett slugged four home runs, including a pair of two-run shots in the bottom of the eighth inning, as the Sox powered past the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes 7-5 Tuesday night at Everett Memorial Stadium.
Everett came into the game having hit just 17 homers in its first 31 games, despite playing in the friendliest home-run park in the Northwest League. But Nelson Ward set the tone for the Sox by leading the game off with a homer.
Then, trailing 5-3 going into the eighth, the Sox teed off on Salem-Keizer reliever Steven Neff. Austin Cousino skied a two-run homer over the scoreboard in right-center to tie it. Then with two out Kyle Petty hit a mammoth line drive that cleared the wall in center, giving Everett a two-run lead.
Hawtin Buchanan then pitched himself out of a jam in the top of the ninth, stranding two runners to earn the win.
Luke Guarnaccia also homered for Everett (9-23), which had just three hits through the first seven innings before pounding out five during the decisive eighth-inning rally. Ward and Cousino each finished 2-for-3 and scored two runs.
Fernando Pujadas went 2-for-3 with two RBI to lead Salem-Keizer (15-17), which was unable to take advantage of six hit batsmen to go along with three walks and nine hits. The Volcanoes left 11 runners on base.
There were just seven games remaining in the first half of the Northwest League regular season going into Tuesday, and the numbers didn't read well for Everett.
The Sox, at 8-23, were on track for the worst record in a half since the league switched to the split season in 2010. In the previous four seasons the worst half by a team came when Spokane went 12-26 during the first half of 2012. However, Spokane's winning percentage was .316, which was significantly better than Everett's .258 mark going into Tuesday. The Sox need to go 4-3 over their final seven games just to catch Spokane, and they need to win five of their final seven to avoid at least sharing a dubious position in the league record books.
Everett also found itself 14 games behind Spokane in the West Division standings going into Tuesday. The most games a team trailed a division leader in a half previously was the 15 Salem-Keizer finished behind the Sox in the first half of 2012. Therefore, Everett is in danger of setting a new mark there, too.
Those numbers are a little harsh on Everett. Based runs scored and allowed, the Sox should have had a record of 12-19 going into Tuesday, based on the Pythagorean win-loss estimate. However, a 3-11 record in one-run games has the Sox poised on the brink of infamy.
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