By Nick Patterson Herald Writer
EVERETT — The Everett AquaSox broke out the big bats to get back to their winning ways.
Everett slugged four home runs en route to a 14-8 victory over the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes on Saturday night at Everett Memorial Stadium. The victory snapped Everett’s four-game losing streak.
DJ Peterson smacked two of the dingers, giving him a team-leading six in 17 games. Justin Seager added his first homer as a professional, and Christian Carmichael also went deep for the Sox.
Bryan Brito added a key three-run triple for Everett (16-8), which turned the game dramatically after falling behind 5-0. The Sox finished with 17 hits, with Peterson, Carmichael and Brito each getting three. Everett also received tremendous relief pitching from Jake Zokan, who struck out six in three scoreless innings to stem the early bleeding.
Christian Otero went 3-for-4 with three RBI to lead Salem-Keizer (16-8).
Everett spotted Salem-Keizer five runs as the Volcanoes took advantage of starting pitcher Steven Ewing’s wildness.
But the Sox responded with a big inning of their own in the bottom of the fourth, putting six runs on the board to vault to a 7-5 lead. Everett began the inning with five straight hits, starting with Seager’s solo homer. The biggest blow came when, with the bases loaded, Brito lined a ball to the left-center gap. Left fielder Shilo McCall dived for the ball, but just missed as it rolled to the wall. Brito ended up with a three-run triple that gave the Sox the lead. Everett cruised the rest of the way.
Mustache no more
One of the most recognizable Everett players is now a little less recognizable.
Relief pitcher Nick Valenza stood out because of his bushy mustache, but looks completely different now after shaving the mustache and getting a haircut.
“When we were in a team meeting (Everett manager Rob) Mummau introduced me as a new player.” Valenza said.
Valenza shaved the mustache before Friday’s game. He knew he was going to cut his hair, and he decided it was time for the mustache to go, too.
“It was there for about four months and I thought it was getting kind of old because I’d chew on my food and I’d mostly get mustache,” Valenza said with a smirk. “I decided it was time to start anew, clean everything up.”
For the record, Valenza thinks he looks better without the mustache.
Everett’s short-handed bullpen received some help with the arrival of Jake Zokan.
Zokan, a 22-year-old left-hander from Columbia, S.C., was promoted from Pulaski of the rookie Appalachian League, where in three appearances spanning 41⁄3 innings he allowed one run and struck out five. He eases a pitching shortage caused by minor injuries to Ryan Horstman and Luke Taylor.
Zokan was the Seattle Mariners’ ninth-round pick in this year’s draft out of the College of Charleston. In 17 games (14 starts) with Charleston, Zokan went 4-3 with a 2.85 earned run average, walking 15 and striking out 80 in 79 innings.