EVERETT — Coming off his worst outing of the year, Everett AquaSox pitcher Scott DeCecco bounced back with one of his best.
DeCecco threw a season-high seven innings, struck out eight and allowed just two runs on four hits to earn the win in Everett’s 6-2 Northwest League victory over the Yakima Bears on Wednesday night.
Michael Faulkner keyed the offense, going 3-for-4 with two runs scored. Brock Hebert and Marcus Littlewood each had two RBI, while Ketel Marte and Taylor Ard tallied two hits apiece for Everett (13-16 second half, 41-26 overall).
Yakima’s Steve Rodriguez and Jacob House each hit a solo home run.
DeCecco (2-3) had allowed 17 runs in 14 innings over his previous three starts, including a nine run, 31/3-inning performance against Vancouver last Friday. But the lefty was effective early and struck out three of the first four Bears hitters. DeCecco, with the help of a double play in the third and fourth innings, kept Yakima (13-16, 34-33) off the scoreboard until Rodriguez’s fifth-inning homer over the right-field wall.
In contrast, Everett’s offense started the game by continuing its recent trend of having many baserunners but not being able to drive them in. The Sox had two runners on in the first and second and one in the third against Yakima starter Derrick Stultz, but stranded all five.
Everett finally broke through in the fifth inning with a little assistance from the Bears. Faulkner led off with a single and was in motion on Marte’s full-count base hit, which allowed the AquaSox left fielder to move to third. Hebert tied the score with an RBI groundout. Bears second baseman Jesus Abreu then committed a critical error to keep the inning alive.
Taylor Ard hit a potential inning-ending double play ball to shortstop Kevin Medrano, but Abreu couldn’t handle Medrano’s throw at second to keep everyone safe and allow Hebert to advance to third. Patrick Kivlehan battled Stultz (1-2) in a nine pitch at-bat before doubling off the base of the center-field wall to drive in Hebert. Littlewood capped the inning with a two-run double to right, giving Everett a 4-1 advantage and ending Stultz’s night.
The Sox padded their lead an inning later with two runs off Yakima reliever RJ Hively. Faulkner once again started the inning with a single. One out later, Hebert’s stand-up triple to left-center brought home Faulkner. With the infield drawn in, Ard bounced a chopper over Medrano’s head for his NWL-leading 52nd RBI of the season and a 6-1 lead.
The Bears cut the deficit to 6-2 in the top of the seventh on House’s homer to right. That was the last run the the Sox allowed as relievers Grady Wood and Matt Vedo each tossed a scoreless inning to close out the game.