Perez guides AquaSox past Spokane 3-2

First-round pick George Kirby threw three scoreless to help Everett keep pace in NWL North

EVERETT — In a league dominated by experienced college hitters, Northwest League lineups can be intimidating, especially for 18-year-old pitchers.

Brayan Perez showed little panic on Tuesday against the Northwest League North division leaders, Spokane.

The Everett southpaw fanned seven over six innings — both of which are season highs — on Tuesday as the AquaSox edged the Indians, 3-2, at Funko Field.

“(His) offspeed pitches looked fantastic,” Everett pitching coach Ari Ronick said. “He had a changeup and a slider, both of them were in the zone and below the zone with two strikes, if needed, and they’re really hard to hit, to be honest.”

Perez (3-1), the Mariners No. 18-ranked prospect according to MLB Pipeline, is in his second season in the Mariners’ organization after Seattle signed the Venezuelan native for $300,000 and it’s just his first campaign stateside after pitching in the Dominican Summer League in 2018.

The 6-foot left-hander started the season with the AZL Mariners, compiling a 3.68 ERA in 36.2 innings, before being promoted to Everett.

He’s handled the challenge in Everett with aplomb, despite being just 18. His numbers demonstrate that, with a 3.68 ERA in 14.2 innings.

“From watching Brayan his last few outings I don’t think he’s (at) all caught-off-guard by it,” Ronick said. “I think he’s able to still be able to still do his thing and keep a calm demeanor on the mound, no matter what hitter he is facing.”

He doesn’t light up the radar gun, sitting in the high 80 and low 90s, but his delivery features plenty of deception and he boasts an effective arsenal of offspeed offerings to keep hitters off balance.

“He comes at hitters with a little bit of a funky motion and it’s difficult to pick up the ball,” Ronick said. “His changeup has a lot of depth to it and the way his slider moves, it’s really tough on batters, lefties and righties.”

The AquaSox (31-33, 13-13 second half) kept pace with the Tri-City Dust Devils in the race for the final playoff spot in the Northwest League North second half standings. The Dust Devils beat Vancouver, 4-2, on Tuesday, narrowing their deficit to one game behind Spokane. The Sox are two games back of the Indians.

George Kirby, the Mariners’ first-round pick in 2019, scattered four hits and struck out four hitters over three scoreless innings for the AquasSox. Over 20 professional innings to start his career, Kirby has yet to walk a batter.

“(I liked) his ability to adapt,” Ronick said. “He was without his best slider today and he filled in as needed with a good curveball and threw his fastball to good locations as well. He mixed in some changeups and did what he needed to pitch effectively.”

Juan Camacho went 3-for-3 with an RBI and Marysville native Trent Tingelstad drove in a pair of runs to lead the AquaSox offense on Tuesday.

The AquaSox scored all three of their runs in the first inning, as Tingelstad poked a two-run single over the shortstop’s head into left field and Camacho added an RBI single.

Spokane chipped away slowly, ending the shutout with Alexander Ovalles’ RBI groundout in the fourth and Luis Asuncion’s RBI double down the right-field line in the eighth.

But the Indians ran out of chances, as Perez pitched a clean ninth to close out the game.

Stephen Mraz (0-1) was handed the loss after allowing three runs over 0.2 innings.

Josh Horton covers the AquaSox for the Herald. Follow him on Twitter, @JoshHortonEDH

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