EVERETT — The Everett AquaSox were done in by a string of balls that didn’t travel more than 70 feet.
Three consecutive bunts sparked a three-run rally as the Hillsboro Hops defeated the Sox 5-3 Tuesday night at Everett Memorial Stadium in the finale of their five-game series.
Hillsboro trailed 3-2 going into the top of the seventh inning. But Galli Cribbs beat out a sacrifice bunt attempt for a single, Taylor Ratliff laid down a squeeze bunt that resulted in a play at the plate in which Justin Gonzalez was declared safe — drawing Everett manager Dave Valle from the dugout for a long and heated argument with the umpire. Then Sox pitcher Cruz Pereira fumbled Jordan Parr’s sacrifice bunt to load the bases. Two more runs scored courtesy of Todd Glaesman’s RBI single and Cesar Carrasco’s sacrifice fly. The three runs the Hops scored in the inning held up as the difference.
Grant Heyman and Nate Robertson each went 2-for-4 for Hillsboro, which improved to 4-1.
Luis Caballero hit a three-run double and Austin Cousino went 2-for-4 to lead Everett (1-4), which dropped its fourth straight. The Sox struck out 13 times Tuesday, the fourth consecutive game in which Hillsboro pitchers fanned at least 10 Everett batters.
Tuesday’s game saw the professional debut of Sox pitcher Dan Altavilla, a small-college star who was the Seattle Mariners’ fifth-round pick in this year’s amateur draft, making him the highest-drafted player currently on Everett’s roster. The right-hander, displaying a fastball in the high 80s and a sharp breaking ball, pitched three innings. He allowed two runs on three hits and two walks, striking out three.
The Northwest League season is less than a week old, yet the Sox already have seen their first departures. Outfielder Arby Fields and pitcher Troy Scott both left Tuesday to join Pulaski of the rookie Appalachian League.
Fields played in Everett’s first three games, batting 2-for-9. Scott appeared in one game, allowing three runs in three innings. Scott’s tenure was particularly short as he spent less than two full days with the Sox.
Monday night’s game between Everett and Hillsboro saw the rare occurrence of a three-pitch inning. In the bottom of the fifth inning Hops reliever Nick Baker was required to throw just three pitches to get through the inning. What made the feat even more unusual is that it included a leadoff single by Taylor Smart on the first pitch of the inning. However, Jordan Cowan flew out to left on the next pitch, then Austin Cousino grounded into a double play on the following one to end a speedy inning.