The Everett AquaSox were on a tear entering this past week’s series against the Eugene Emeralds, having cruised to 23 wins in their last 30 games.
But the first-place AquaSox met their match against Eugene.
This series between the High-A West’s top two teams was tightly contested throughout, with all seven games decided by three runs or less. There were four one-run games, including three in a row to cap the series.
After back-to-back losses on Thursday and Friday, Everett was in danger of losing its first series since the start of June.
But the AquaSox rebounded with victories Saturday and Sunday to take the series and finish with four wins in the seven-game set at Funko Field.
Everett (51-26) increased its lead atop the six-team High-A West to 7.5 games over second-place Eugene (44-34). Both teams are well ahead of the rest of the league, with third-place Spokane trailing the AquaSox by 14.5 games.
THURSDAY’S WILD AFFAIR
Everett was on the losing end of one of its craziest games of the year last Thursday.
The game began with an offensive outburst from both sides, as the AquaSox stormed to a 6-0 lead in the first inning before Eugene answered with five runs in the second.
Everett later took a 9-6 lead into the top of the ninth, but its bullpen imploded and surrendered five runs in the frame. The Emeralds hit back-to-back homers in the ninth — a game-tying three-run blast followed by a go-ahead solo shot — to hand the AquaSox an 11-9 loss.
Here’s a look at who stood out at the plate this past week for Everett, which hit 13 home runs in the series:
Jake Anchia: The reigning High-A West player of the week only played in three games this past series, but he sure made his presence felt. Anchia went 4-for-10 with three home runs, including a pair of homers last Thursday. The 24-year-old catcher and 2018 seventh-round MLB draft pick has five home runs in his last 18 at-bats. Anchia, who has bounced between Everett and Double-A Arkansas this season, is batting .250 with nine homers and seven doubles in 31 games with the AquaSox.
Cade Marlowe: The 2019 20th-round draft pick went 8-for-23 with two homers, three doubles and eight RBIs in the series. In Everett’s series-opening 5-4 win last Tuesday, Marlowe drove in the deciding run with a go-ahead RBI double in the bottom of the seventh inning. Since being promoted from Low-A Modesto in mid-June, the 24-year-old outfielder is batting .242 with seven homers, three triples and 14 doubles in 37 games.
Joseph Rosa: The 24-year-old infielder went 8-for-24 with two home runs and two doubles in the series. Rosa is batting .249 with five homers, three triples and 14 doubles in 56 games with the AquaSox this season.
Connor Hoover: The 2017 21st-round draft pick went 5-for-16 with two home runs and one double in the series. After batting .148 over the first two months of the season, Hoover hit .295 in July. For the season, the 25-year-old third baseman is batting .214 with nine homers, two triples and 14 doubles.
Everett pitchers struggled this past week, posting a combined 6.25 earned-run average in the series. But here are two relievers who had good showings:
Nolan Hoffman: In his first two appearances since being promoted from Low-A Modesto, Hoffman allowed one run and one hit in 3 2/3 innings this past week. The 2018 fifth-round draft pick struck out five of the 13 batters he faced and yielded one walk.
Kyle Hill: The 2019 10th-round draft pick pitched 3 1/3 scoreless innings over two appearances this past week. Hill struck out four batters, while allowing one hit and two walks. For the season, he has a 3.91 ERA in 25 1/3 innings, with 27 strikeouts and 19 walks.
HANCOCK RETURNS TO ACTION
Highly touted right-handed pitcher Emerson Hancock returned from a month-long injury-related absence with a short stint last Wednesday.
Hancock, ranked by MLB.com as the No. 22 overall prospect in baseball, started the opening game of last Wednesday’s doubleheader and tossed 1 1/3 scoreless innings. He struck out two batters, while allowing one hit and one walk. He labored a bit, throwing 35 pitches in the outing.
Hancock, the No. 6 overall pick in last year’s MLB draft, hadn’t pitched since June 25 because of a minor shoulder injury. He was selected to play in last month’s MLB All-Star Futures Game, but was scratched from the annual showcase of baseball’s top prospects.
Hancock has made eight starts for Everett this season, posting a 2.30 ERA in 27 1/3 innings. He has 27 strikeouts and 12 walks.
STOUDT, POLCOVICH PROMOTED TO DOUBLE-A
Two more AquaSox players — right-handed pitcher Levi Stoudt and infielder Kaden Polcovich — were promoted to Double-A Arkansas within the last week. With these two latest moves, there have now been nine Everett players called up to Double-A over the last three weeks.
Levi Stoudt: The 2019 third-round draft pick started 12 games for the AquaSox this season, posting a 3.52 ERA in 64 innings. He struck out 67 batters and walked 29. Stoudt is ranked by MLB.com as the No. 11 prospect in the Seattle Mariners’ organization.
Kaden Polcovich: The 2020 third-round draft pick batted .271 with 10 home runs, four triples and 12 doubles in 58 games with Everett this season. He ranks 10th in the High-A West in batting average, fourth in on-base percentage (.415) and sixth in slugging percentage (.505). Polcovich is the Mariners’ No. 20-ranked prospect, according to MLB.com.
2 FORMER AQUASOX TRADED
A pair of recent Everett players — third baseman Austin Shenton and catcher Carter Bins — were dealt last week as part of the Mariners’ trade-deadline moves.
Shenton, a Bellingham High School alum, was traded to the Tampa Bay Rays’ organization as part of the move the Mariners made to acquire closer Diego Castillo.
Bins was dealt to the Pittsburgh Pirates’ organization as part of the trade the Mariners made to acquire starting pitcher Tyler Anderson.
Shenton and Bins both started the season on the AquaSox before earning promotions to Double-A Arkansas last month.
Everett hits the road for a six-game series against the Spokane Indians that runs Tuesday through Sunday. After that, the AquaSox return home to Funko Field on Aug. 10 for a six-game series against the Vancouver Canadians.