By Nick Patterson Herald writer
EVERETT — Sam Mende crushed a two-run home run in the top of the 10th inning, giving the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes a 6-4 victory over the Everett AquaSox on Monday night at Everett Memorial Stadium.
With the score tied 4-4 going to extra innings, Salem-Keizer’s Travis Relaford led off the 10th by doubling over the head of left fielder Phillips Castillo. Mende followed, and after showing bunt on the first two pitches, he lined Leoncio Munoz’s 2-0 pitch over the fence in center to break the deadlock.
Everett put the tying runs on second and third in the bottom of the 10th, but Ian Gardeck struck out Wilton Martinez to end the game.
Four pitchers combined to strike out 15 for Salem-Keizer (15-16), which took the first game of the five-game series.
Corey Simpson went 2-for-4 with a homer and Kyle Petty had three hits to lead Everett (8-23).
Everett starting pitcher Luiz Gohara, the highly-touted 17-year-old from Brazil, had another up-and-down performance. The left-hander had his longest outing since joining the Sox at the beginning of the month, lasting 41/3 innings. But he continued to struggle with his command, walking three and hitting another as he allowed three runs in getting a no decision.
Everett twice jumped out to a lead. The Sox took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first when Simpson went the opposite way to drop a two-run homer just into the homer porch in right. Then after Salem-Keizer rallied for three in the third, Everett regained the lead with two more runs in the fourth on an RBI single by Petty and a run-scoring double by Martinez.
But the Volcanoes tied it with an unearned run in the sixth, and the Sox were unable to take advantage of baserunners in the late innings — including leaving the bases loaded in the seventh — as the game went to extra innings.
Simpson’s weekend treat
Sox outfielder Corey Simpson was one of the nine Everett players who were unable to travel with the team to Canada over the weekend for the Sox’s three-game trip to Vancouver. However, unlike his teammates, he found other playing arrangements.
Simpson received a sneak preview of the Class AAA level as he spent the weekend with the Pacific Coast League’s Tacoma Rainiers.
Simpson didn’t have his passport with him, meaning he would have had difficulty getting back into the U.S. from Canada. But instead of kicking his heels in Everett, he was instead given a brief promotion to Tacoma. Simpson didn’t just sit on the bench for the Rainiers, he played two full games. He struggled in his first game Saturday, going 0-for-3 with three strikeouts. However, he bounced back Sunday to go 1-for-3, his first Class AAA hit a ground-ball single to left.
“It was a great experience, I loved it,” Simpson said. “The atmosphere was great, and the pitching was incredible. They can spot it and throw all different kinds of stuff. I had fun.”
Simpson, a sixth-round pick by the Seattle Mariners in the 2013 amateur draft, came into Monday batting .212 in eight games with the Sox.