AquaSox notes

  • Thursday, June 22, 2006 9:00pm
  • Sports

Opponent: Tri-City Dust Devils

When: 7:05 p.m.

Where: Everett Memorial Stadium

Radio: KRKO (1380 AM)

Probable starting pitchers: Everett left-hander Greg Nesbitt (0-0, 0.00 earned run average) vs. Tri-City right-hander Tomas Santiago (0-0, 0.00).

King of the Hill

These days, Bob Hill is known for his basketball background, but the head coach of the NBA’s Seattle SuperSonics looked pretty darn comfortable swinging a baseball bat Thursday afternoon at Everett Memorial Stadium.

There’s a good reason for that.

Hill, 57, was a baseball and basketball star at Bowling Green State University in Ohio. The San Diego Padres drafted him after his senior season and, before he started on the path to becoming an NBA coach, Hill played infield in the Northwest League for the Padres’ Tri-City affiliate. (Tri-City is now a Colorado Rockies farm club.) On Thursday, Hill took batting practice with the Everett AquaSox before their game against Tri-City. Donning a full uniform, including a No. 45 jersey, Hill unleashed some decent swings and peppered the left side of the infield with grounders.

Afterward, a reporter asked Hill if he plans to try out for the team. “No. I like (the) job that I’ve got,” said Hill, in Everett as part of a Seattle SuperSonics/Storm promotional event. He later threw out the ceremonial first pitch.

“To his credit, he got in there and gave it a shot,” Everett manager Dave Myers said. “I thought it was fun. The players all enjoyed it.” Hill’s wife, Pam Hill, and his 22-year-old son, Casey Hill, joined him at the stadium. “He got a hold of a couple more than I thought he would. He’s a ground-ball hitter, though,” said Casey Hill, who plays hoops for Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas.

Pam Hill said watching her husband suit up reminded her of his days on the diamond at Bowling Green, where the two met. “He loved it, I guarantee you,” Hill’s wife said of his BP session. “He is walking down memory lane right now.” The last time Bob Hill swung a bat was five or six years ago when he took batting practice for a different Seattle Mariners farm team: the Class AA San Antonio Missions. Next time, he said he wants a shot with the M’s.

Asked about his experience playing baseball for Tri-City, Hill recalled the memorable summer of 1971 when the team won a Northwest League championship. “We had a phenomenal summer and spent a lot of time on the Columbia River when we weren’t playing baseball.” “It was a long time ago (but) there will always be a soft spot in my heart for that summer.”

First impressions: Everett pitcher Mike Schilling make a good first impression on AquaSox fans Monday when he threw seven scoreless innings and earned a victory in his professional debut. So far Schilling, who’s scheduled to make his second start Saturday at Yakima, likes what he’s seen from Snohomish County – especially its fans.

“The fans come out and they support us real well and they have a good time, and that (makes us) want to win for ‘em.” Schilling, drafted out of Fresno City College, said the Everett crowds of several thousand dwarf the crowds he was used to before. “It definitely gives you another level of intensity. You get more pumped up before the games just seeing the people coming in.” Another plus: Schilling loves his host family in Lake Stevens. “I couldn’t ask for a better setup than I’ve got there,” said Schilling.

Go fish: Schilling described himself as a pretty down-to-earth guy. His favorite hobbies include fishing and playing poker. So have he and the Frogs had any intense games of Texas Hold ‘Em? “We haven’t had a chance to get any going yet,” Schilling said, “but I’m hoping pretty soon.”

Mike Cane, Herald writer

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