SPOKANE — The Everett AquaSox opened the 2013 Northwest League season with handshakes.
Everett got its season off on a winning note by defeating the Spokane Indians 6-4 in its opener Friday night. The Sox took a 5-0 lead through three innings, then held on after Spokane made a late push.
The Sox were on base all night, pounding out 11 hits, drawing five walks and capitalizing on three Spokane errors. Carlton Tanabe led Everett’s offense by going 3-for-5 and Alfredo Morales went 2-for-4 with a home run.
The Sox also received strong pitching. Starter Rigoberto Garcia had a nice Northwest League debut. The 19-year-old right-hander from the Dominican Republic threw six solid innings, allowing two runs on three hits and two walks, striking out three to earn the win. Hard-throwing Richard Vargas then struck out five of the six batters he faced to earn the save.
D.J. Peterson, the Seattle Mariners’ first-round pick in this year’s amateur draft, is not with the team in Spokane. Peterson has signed with the Mariners and has been assigned to Everett, but he is not joining the team until it returns home Monday to face Tri-City.
Spokane managed just four hits. The Sox also roughed up Indians starting pitcher Alex Gonzalez. Gonzalez, a first-round pick by the Texas Rangers in this year’s draft, lasted just 12/3 innings. He allowed three runs on five hits and a walk.
Everett got the season off to a good start by putting runs on the scoreboard in each of its first three at bats.
The Sox scored twice in the top of the first. Martin Peguero beat out an infield single, and when the ball got away at first, James Zamarripa scored from second for the first run of the season. Tanabe later added an RBI single to stake the Sox to a 2-0 lead.
Everett tacked on another run in the second inning when Morales lined an RBI doubled to the wall in center field. The Sox kept it coming in the third. Phillips Castillo scored on a wild pitch, then Bryan Brito grounded an RBI double down the left-field line, increasing Everett’s advantage to 5-0.
Spokane gradually pulled itself back into the game. Alberto Triunfel’s RBI double got the Indians on the board in the fourth. The Indians scored again in the fifth when Morales in right dropped Saquan Johnson’s fly for a triple. He scored on Chris Garia’s squibber to the mound.
Spokane then got within one run in the seventh when Garia lined a triple over the head of Zamarripa in center. Two runs scored to make it 5-4.
Morales stemmed the tide by launching a mammoth homer to right-center in the eighth, making it 6-4 Everett and giving a little extra breathing room to Vargas, who was dominating.