AquaSox tune up against Merchants in Everett Cup

EVERETT — Once again David is getting his shot at Goliath.

The Everett AquaSox and Everett Merchants meet for the ninth time when they square off in the annual Everett Cup exhibition baseball game tonight at Everett Memorial Stadium. The first pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.

The Everett Cup, which began in 2004, pits the professional AquaSox, members of the short-season Class A Northwest League, against the amateur Merchants, who play in the Pacific International League. It serves as the AquaSox’s warm-up for the 2012 season, which begins Friday at Tri-City.

The AquaSox have generally had their way with the Merchants, a team comprised primarily of small college and community college players with local ties. Last year, the Sox prevailed 10-5.

However, the Merchants have been known to pull off the upset, having won twice in the previous eight contests. In 2010, the Merchants won 10-5 in a game they controlled throughout.

“It’s a good tune-up for us,” first-year AquaSox manager Rob Mummau said. “I’m sure the Merchants are going to come out and give us their best game. We’re definitely going to try hard, and I’m looking forward to playing this team. I’ve heard they’re really good.”

For the Sox, the Everett Cup is an opportunity for the players, many of whom have never played professionally under the lights, to get an idea of what to expect from the upcoming season.

“It’s a little bit scripted,” Mummau said about his approach to the exhibition. “We know the guys who are going to pitch, a couple of the starters are going to be in there. Then we’re going to try to get everybody at least one at-bat. But while doing that, we’re definitely going to try to win. We take it very serious, and we’re going to try to get everybody ready to go for Friday.”

It also gives the fans a first look at some of the Seattle Mariners’ younger prospects. Among the AquaSox top players are 17-year-old pitcher Victor Sanchez and catcher Marcus Littlewood. The Sox also feature several high picks from last week’s amateur draft: third baseman Patrick Kivlehan (fourth round), shortstop Chris Taylor (fifth round), first baseman Taylor Ard (seventh round) and second baseman Jamodrick McGruder (ninth round).

Among the standouts for the Merchants are outfielder Ryan Sells from Mountlake Terrace, who was named the Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges MVP while playing for Everett CC this spring, and first baseman Sam Parris from Lake Stevens, who played at Edmonds CC and has signed to play at the University of Arizona next season.

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