EVERETT — The Everett AquaSox have made a habit of late-game heroics this season. But even these AquaSox can only conjure up so much magic.
Twice Everett rallied in its final at-bat to keep the game alive, but the Sox couldn’t pull it off a third time as they fell 5-4 to the Eugene Emeralds in 11 innings in a Northwest League baseball game at Everett Memorial Stadium.
Everett’s been clutch late in games, including winning all three of its previous extra-inning encounters this season. On Sunday the Sox tried to pull it off again, rallying for two runs in both the ninth and 10th innings to extend the game.
However, Everett had nothing left to answer B.J Guinn’s game-winning RBI infield single in the 11th.
“Our guys battled the whole way,” Everett manager Rob Mummau said. “Unfortunately we just fell short by a run.
“We never feel like we’re out of a game, no matter if … we’re down one, two or three runs going into the last inning, Our guys really battled, but I have to tip my hat to (the Emeralds).”
Indeed, this time it was Everett’s opponent that seemed to receive the late-inning sprinkling of magic dust. There was no apparent threat when Sox reliever Marcos Reyna got two quick outs in the top of the 11th. But a two-out walk to Alexi Colon proved costly. Brian Adams was brought in to pinch run and stole second to get into scoring position.
Guinn followed by grounding a ball toward the hole between first and second. Sox second baseman Chris Taylor dove and knocked the ball down on the outfield grass. Adams never hesitated rounding third, and he slid in just ahead of Taylor’s throw home to score what proved to be the winning run.
“Guinn’s here on a rehab assignment and hasn’t really got his legs underneath him yet,” Eugene manager Pat Murphy said. “It’s good to get a big hit there when he needed it.
“It seemed like they would never go away,” Murphy said of the AquaSox. “They were just really relentless, that’s why they’re the best team in the league right now. We’re just scrapping away with our guys.”
Corey Adamson finished 4-for-5 with a homer and four RBI to pace Eugene (9-7). The Emeralds also received a stellar effort from relief pitcher Juan Marcano, who tossed 42/3 scoreless innings and was in line to be the winner before the Sox rallied in the ninth.
Alfredo Morales slugged two doubles to lead Everett (13-4), which saw a six-game winning streak come to an end.
Everett starting pitcher Victor Sanchez had another solid outing. The 17-year-old right-hander from Venezuela went 62/3 innings, allowing two runs — one earned — on seven hits and two walks. Sanchez wasn’t overpowering, however, striking out just three.
Sanchez escaped several jams in getting through the first six innings scoreless, thanks in large part to his defense, which turned three inning-ending double plays with runners in scoring position. However, Sanchez’s luck ran out in the seventh.
It was a scoreless tie when the Emeralds put runners at second and third with two out. That brought Adamson to the plate, and on a 1-2 count the left-handed hitter went with an outside pitch and lined a double into the left-field corner. Both runners scored, giving Eugene a 2-0 lead.
The Emeralds carried the lead into the ninth, but Everett has made a habit of scoring late in games, and the Sox did it again Sunday. With one out Patrick Kivlehan rolled a single up the middle and Morales doubled off the right-field wall, putting runners at second and third.
That brought Janelfry Zorilla to the plate. Zorilla swung and missed at consecutive breaking balls on the outside corner from Roman Madrid to fall behind 0-2. Madrid threw another outside breaking ball. This time Zorilla threw the bat at the ball and made just enough contact to guide a liner just inside the right-field line. Both runners scored on the double to force extra innings.
It looked like the Emeralds put the game away again in the 10th when Adamson belted a two-run homer to dead center, giving Eugene a 4-2 lead.
But once again the Sox rallied. Marcus Littlewood’s RBI single got the Sox within one again at 4-3. Then with the bases loaded and one out, Taylor bounced a ball to short that could have been the game-ending double play. However, Emeralds shortstop Stephen Carmon dropped the ball and was able only to get the force at second, allowing Taylor Ard to score the tying run and keep the game alive.