EVERETT — For the seventh straight season the Everett Cup will remain in the possession of the Everett AquaSox.
In their first and only exhibition tuneup prior the Class A Northwest League season, the AquaSox topped the Everett Merchants 7-3 at Everett Memorial Stadium.
The Merchants, who compete in the summer Pacific International League, have won the Cup just twice in its 14 years of existence and remain in search of their first victory since 2010.
The evening began when long-time Merchants manager and 2017 Snohomish County Sports Hall of Fame inductee Harold Pyatte tossed a strike to AquaSox infielder Joe Venturino for the ceremonial first pitch in front of several hundred fans.
Rains came in the middle innings chasing away all but the hardiest of supporters that numbered several dozen at the end.
The AquaSox erased a 3-2 deficit when they broke it open with a five-run bottom of the sixth inning.
Onil Pena and Austin Grebeck had RBI singles to give Everett a 4-3 lead, and then Joe Venturino’s two-out, pinch-hit triple into the gap in left-center pushed the AquaSox lead to 6-3. Osmy Gregorio’s RBI double off the wall scored Venturino.
AquaSox starter Cody Mobley issued back-to-back two-out walks in the third before Bryce Brandl launched a home run over the fence in right-center to give the Merchants a 3-0 lead. After another walk he was replaced by Andres Torres, who struck out the next hitter to end the inning.
The AquaSox countered in the bottom of the frame. Greifer Andrade stroked a one-out double and scored when Gregorio followed with a RBI single to cut the lead to 3-1.
Gregorio also drove in the second run with a sacrifice fly in the fifth to cut the Merchants’ lead to 3-2.
Mobley allowed a hit and a walk to open the game, but worked out of the jam without surrendering a run.
Andrade and Eugene Helder each doubled and scored. Gregorio finished 2-for-3 with two RBI and Grebeck, who won last year’s Everett Cup for the AquaSox with a walkoff single, finished Tuesday 2-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored.
Connor Anderson had a double for the Merchants.
Torres earned the win in relief for the AquaSox while Jake Levin suffered the loss for the Merchants. Anjul Hernandez pitched three innings to pick up the save and fanned seven.
The AquaSox open the NWL season Thursday at 7:05 p.m. against the Hillsboro Hops at Everett Memorial stadium.