Opponent: Yakima Bears
When: 12:05 p.m.
Where: Everett Memorial Stadium
Radio: KRKO (1380 AM)
Pitchers: Everett left-hander Robert Rohrbaugh (4-1, 3.68 ERA) vs. Yakima left-hander Ryan Schreppel (1-1, 5.75).
A day later and the Everett AquaSox were still marveling at the events in Monday’s crazy 16-15 victory over the Yakima Bears, which included Everett’s 12-run seventh inning and Yakima scoing seven runs in the final two innings to pull within one.
“It was really emotional,” Everett catcher J.B. Tucker said. “Especially because we were up, we were down, we were up again, then they were fighting back. It was definitely an emotional game. I wouldn’t say it was stressful, I’d say it was a lot of fun.”
Everett’s 12-run bottom of the seventh inning, which turned an 8-4 deficit into a 16-8 lead, was the AquaSox biggest inning of the season. The previous best was nine runs in a 16-9 victory at Boise on July 6.
And none of the AquaSox could recall ever being involved in an inning quite like that.
“I don’t think I’ve ever seen a 12-run inning, that’s a first for me,” said Everett shortstop Rob Hudson, who got the rally started with a leadoff triple. “I’ve seen a few eight- and nine-run innings. But once we started getting hot, I think hitting’s contagious. Our team turned it on and once a few of us started getting hits it just became a rally and we started finding holes.”
And who could have predicted Tucker’s two-run homer, which ended the rally, would end up being so pivotal in the final outcome?
“I didn’t think those were going to be crucial runs,” Tucker said. “That put us up by eight. But that’s why we keep pouring it on. Pedro (Grifol, Everett’s manager) always tells us to keep scoring because anything can happen, especially in this ballpark.”
One person who wasn’t expecting Tucker’s home run to be so important was Everett closer Steve Kahn, who had to make an express warm-up in the bullpen after Yakima scored four runs in the ninth to pull within one.
“When I saw the score was 16-8 I thought, ‘You know, I think I’ll get the night off,’” Kahn said. “Once they came within four runs I got up and started getting ready just in case. Then in the blink of an eye it was a one-run game and I was in there.”
Kahn got the final out to earn the save and end what proved to be a crazy game.
Valbuena on fire: Somewhat obscured by the wild nature of Monday’s game was the continuation of Luis Valbuena’s sizzling streak.
Valbuena’s two-run homer in the seventh was the hit that put Everett ahead, and it also gave Valbuena homers in three straight games.
“I guess that’s the way it goes sometimes,” Valbuena said through translator Danny Santin. “You get in a groove and get some big hits.”
Valbuena had four home runs total and 11 RBI in the first three games of the series against Yakima. His three-game explosion saw him surge into the Northwest League lead in both home runs (10) and RBI (41).
“I’ve been in a groove before where I’ve been getting a lot of hits,” Valbuena said. “But I’ve never been in a groove where I’m hitting home runs like this before.”
Valbuena’s go-ahead homer Monday may have been the biggest of the four this series. But he doesn’t necessarily expect it to be his biggest of the season.
“Maybe right now it’s the biggest home run, but not for the season,” Valbuena said. “There’s plenty of big games left where I’ll need to deliver.”
Short hops: Today’s early start time of 12:05 p.m. is the result of Kid’s Day at Everett Memorial Stadium. The early start time allows daycares and summer camps to bring their kids to the game as a field trip. … When Yakima relief pitcher Ryan Doherty came into the game Monday, the Everett fans got a glimpse of baseball history. Doherty, a right-hander who stands at 7-feet-1, is the tallest player ever to play professional baseball. … The AquaSox held their largest picnic in franchise history Tuesday with approximately 1,500 Boeing employees attending pre-game festivities.
Nick Patterson, Herald writer
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