By Nick Patterson Herald Writer
EVERETT — Ladies and gentlemen, we have a race.
The Everett AquaSox just dropped two of three in their series against the Vancouver Canadians, meaning the Northwest League North Division’s first-half race isn’t over just yet.
When Everett headed to Vancouver for a three-game series beginning Monday, the Sox were a scorching 14-3. After winning the first game against the Canadians, Everett’s lead atop the division was up to five games over Vancouver. With just three weeks remaining in the first half, that five-game lead was beginning to appear daunting.
But Vancouver won the final two games of the series to cut the lead back down to three heading into Thursday’s action, and suddenly Everett finds itself looking over its shoulder, despite its incredible start.
“(The Canadians) have a good club, you have to give them credit,” Everett manager Rob Mummau said. “We’re about halfway through the first half and we have to keep battling every day.”
Vancouver won the final two games of the series 11-1 and 7-3. Almost all of the damage done in those games came between seventh inning of Tuesday’s game and the second inning of Wednesday’s. In those four innings Vancouver totaled 14 runs on 16 hits. In the other 12 innings the Sox allowed just four runs on 14 hits.
“A lot of hits seemed to fall in for them,” Mummau said. “A lot of the soft-hit balls they hit seemed to fall in. That’s just baseball.”
Perhaps it was inevitable things were going to even out that way for the Sox. Everett’s fast start in the standings was built not on domination, but on winning close games. The Sox opened the season 14-2, but they didn’t score more than six runs in any of those games. Of the 14 victories, eight were by a single run. Despite being 12 games over .500, Everett had outscored its opponents by just 11 runs.
With Vancouver outscoring Everett 18-4 in the final two games of the series, Everett had a 15-5 record despite scoring the exact number of runs as its opponents.
The first half ends on July 22, and it’s looking more like there will be some intrigue as the date approaches.