By Nick Patterson Herald Writer
EVERETT — Over the first half of the Northwest League season Everett was nearly unbeatable with the AquaSox coming from behind many times to win close games.
That well dried up in the second half and the playoffs, and now the Sox’s season is over.
Everett was unable to piece together one last comeback, and the Sox’s run came to an end with a 7-4 loss to the Vancouver Canadians on Tuesday night at Everett Memorial Stadium. Vancouver swept the best-of-three series in two consecutive games.
“It just wasn’t meant to be,” Everett manager Rob Mummau said. “We kind of got off to a rough start and we never really recovered. But the kids had a great season.”
Everett found itself in a 5-0 hole after two innings and trailed 7-1 through six. The Sox rallied to make the game interesting in the final innings, but never brought the tying run to the plate.
Vancouver starter Taylor Cole pitched six solid innings to earn the victory, Art Charles slugged a three-run homer and Jorge Flores went 3-for-4 for the Canadians, who advanced to the league championship series. Vancouver will face either Boise or Yakima in a best-of-three series beginning Thursday.
The Canadians also received a game-changing defensive gem from center fielder Ian Parmley. The Monroe High School graduate made a run-saving diving catch in the bottom of the fourth that turned into a rally-killing double play.
“Our pitching is looking really good right now and we’re playing great as a team,” said Parmley, who was confident of Vancouver’s chances in the championship series. “Everyone’s clicking. It’s going to be a lot of fun.”
Mike Faulkner hit a two-run triple and Janelfry Zorrilla and Brock Hebert each went 2-for-4 for Everett, which still had a memorable season.
“It was a great season,” Mummau said. “The kids played hard every night and never gave up. That’s all you can ask for.”
One player in particular who had a memorable season was pitcher Victor Sanchez, who took the league by storm as a 17-year-old. However, the stocky right-hander from Venezuela did not have a memorable outing Tuesday as the Canadians rocked him for five runs in the first two innings. With Everett’s season hanging in the balance, Mummau gave Sanchez a quick hook after the second.
“He’s been so good all year,” Mummau said. “It was just one of those nights where he didn’t have his best stuff.”
Everett’s bullpen managed to stop the bleeding, but by then the Sox had too big a hill to climb.
One of the reasons for that was Parmley’s play in the bottom of the fourth. Everett had one run in to make it 5-1, then had two runners on with one out. Alfredo Morales then sent a screaming liner to right-center. However, Parmley raced to his right, dived at full stretch, and made the catch. Marcus Littlewood, who was on second base, took off thinking the ball would fall. Parmley had an easy throw to second for the inning-ending double play.
“I was just trying to get a good jump on anything hit my way,” Parmley said. “I knew he was a pull guy, so I was thinking he might pull one in the gap. So I got a good jump and just had to catch it.
“I think it was pretty big,” Parmley added about the importance of the catch. “It probably would have scored two runs. The way Cole was pitching, just one good play and hes good for the rest of the game.”
Cole, the league’s ERA champion at a miniscule 0.81, allowed just one unearned run over his six innings. The right-hander allowed five hits, walked three and struck out three.
Vancouver announced its intentions from the start. In the top of the first inning Kellen Sweeney walked and Balbino Fuenmayor singled, bringing Charles to the plate with one out. Then on a 2-2 pitch the hulking Charles sent a fly over the fence in right-center for a three-run homer, giving the Canadians the early 3-0 advantage.
The Canadians then tacked on two more in the seventh. Jorge Flores rapped a double down the left-field line, scoring Tucker Frawley from first. Then with two out second baseman Brock Hebert let Sweeney’s grounder get past him for an error, with Flores scoring from third to make it 5-0.
Everett gave itself a glimmer of hope by rallying for three runs in the seventh. With two out Falkner lined a triple to center, driving home two runs. Then Faulkner came home on a passed ball to make it 7-4.