EVERETT — There hasn’t been much for the Everett AquaSox to be concerned about this season. They had the best record wire-to-wire in the first half of the Northwest League season and have already clinched a playoff berth.
But this week in a three-game series with the Eugene Emeralds, the AquaSox offense that has been so reliable in 2012 suffered and the Emeralds swept Everett, which fell to 4-5 in the season’s second half standings.
In the wake of the AquaSox being swept for the first time this season, manager Rob Mummau still isn’t concerned.
“It’s just business as usual,” Mummau said. “We didn’t get the timely hit when we needed it. It’s just one of those things, it’s baseball, you play 76 games in a short season year and stuff like that is going to happen.”
One of the strengths of the AquaSox this season has been their offense. The Frogs have the second-highest team batting average in the league, the most home runs and the second most runs batted in. But against the Emeralds, the offense struggled, at one point going 20 consecutive innings without a run.
“It’s baseball, you are going to have some ups-and-downs and right now we are on a little bit of a down swing,” Mummau said. “I’ve got all the confidence in the world in these guys that they will come out tonight and in this series and start swinging again.”
Sox to host NWL All-Star Game
The Everett AquaSox announced Friday they will play host to the 2013 Northwest League All-Star Game at Everett Memorial Stadium.
The game is scheduled for Aug. 6.
The contest marks the first the NWL has played an All-Star game since 2004. It is expected to become an annual tradition, with the location rotating between the eight NWL teams, the AquaSox said in a press release.
We are thrilled to host the first of these annual Northwest League All-Star games, AquaSox executive vice president Tom Backemeyer said in the release, The caliber of talent in the league, and the fact that each team will only host one game every eight years makes this a must-see event.
The 2013 All-Star Game celebration also will include a Home Run Derby and an All-Star Luncheon at Tulalip Resort Casino.
No word on Zunino
Mike Zunino, the third overall selection in the Major League Baseball amateur draft by the Seattle Mariners, has taken the Northwest League by storm since his arrival last month. Zunino has cooled some from in recent games, but is still hitting .329 with six home runs, 14 RBI and six doubles in his 19 games with the Frogs.
The hot-hitting start of the University of Florida product has had many wondering just how long Zunino will be with the Frogs before moving up the ladder in the Mariners minor league system.
Asked about Zunino before Friday night’s game, Mummau simply replied, “I haven’t heard anything.”
Under the radar
With much of the focus on Zunino, first baseman Taylor Ard and shortstop Christopher Taylor (before he was called up to Class A Clinton), many of the AquaSox other players have flown under the radar in 2012.
A couple of those players have caught Mummau’s eye recently — left fielder Mike Faulkner and relief pitcher Grady Wood to name a few.
“Grady Wood had a real good outing (Thursday) night, three scoreless innings and he’s been really good in the month of July and early August,” Mummau said. “Faulkner is swinging the bat much better. He’s finding some holes. There are a number of guys who just keep on improving, but probably those two guys are the ones that standout.”
When it comes to playoffs, the AquaSox will need players like Wood and Faulkner in order to bring a third Northwest League championship to Everett.
“It’s a team effort,” Mummau said. “Once you get into the playoffs, it’s a short series. It’s a total team effort. You don’t know what players are going to be put in the pressure situations, so we are just counting on everybody.”
Nick Patterson, Herald writer