The Everett AquaSox fell back down to earth.
After surging atop the High-A West with a red-hot stretch of 15 wins in 18 games, the AquaSox split their six-game series against the last-place Tri-City Dust Devils this past week at Funko Field.
Tri-City won three of the first four games in the series — including a pair of one-run victories — before Everett took the last two games to salvage a series split.
It was a stark contrast from the teams’ previous meetings this season. The AquaSox (42-22) had gone 11-1 in their first two series against the Dust Devils (25-40), while outscoring them by a whopping 110-33 margin.
The big difference this past week was Everett’s pitching. A handful of regulars from the AquaSox’s starting rotation this season — Emerson Hancock, George Kirby, Matt Brash, Levi Stoudt and Juan Then — didn’t pitch in the series.
And without its usual array of dominant arms, Everett surrendered 48 runs over the six games — which was by far the most runs it had given up in a series this year. The AquaSox entered the week allowing just 4.1 runs per game, but yielded 8.0 runs per contest in the series. Their 15-6 loss last Wednesday marked the first time all season they’d allowed more than 10 runs in a game.
But despite its pitching struggles, Everett continued to produce at the plate. The AquaSox scored 46 runs in the series, including their 17th double-digit output of the year in Sunday’s 11-8 victory.
Here’s a look at some more AquaSox storylines and highlights from the past week:
SHENTON, DELOACH, BRASH PROMOTED TO DOUBLE-A
Two of the AquaSox’s top sluggers and one of their top pitchers were promoted to the Double-A Arkansas Travelers over the past week. Here’s a look at all three players:
Austin Shenton: The Bellingham High School alum’s promotion was announced last Friday. Shenton, a 2019 fifth-round MLB draft pick out of Florida International University, batted .295 with 11 home runs, three triples and 24 doubles in 57 games with Everett this season.
Shenton leads the six-team High-A West in slugging percentage (.576), extra-base hits (38) and doubles. The 23-year-old left-handed-hitting third baseman also is tied for second in the league in home runs and is fourth in on-base percentage (.418) and fifth in batting average.
Shenton, ranked by MLB.com as the No. 17 prospect in the Seattle Mariners’ organization, has been red-hot at the plate over the last month and a half. After batting .239 in May, he hit a combined .331 with the AquaSox in June and July. Over that span, he posted a .684 slugging percentage and totaled 27 extra-base hits in 34 games.
Shenton began his minor league career with Everett in 2019, back when the AquaSox were a Short Season-A team. Over 21 games with Everett that season, he batted .367 with two home runs, one triple and 10 doubles.
Shenton then got promoted in the middle of the 2019 season to Single-A West Virginia, where he spent the rest of the year. In 32 games with West Virginia, he batted .252 with five home runs, one triple and seven doubles.
Shenton has already made an impact in his first few days at the Double-A level. In his first three games with Arkansas, he went 5-for-11 with three doubles.
Zach DeLoach: The 2020 second-round draft pick’s promotion was announced Monday in a tweet from the Mariners’ player development Twitter account. DeLoach, the Mariners’ No. 11-ranked prospect, batted .313 with nine home runs, two triples and 23 doubles in 58 games with the AquaSox this season.
The 22-year-old left-handed-hitting outfielder from Texas A&M University ranks second in the High-A West in batting average and fourth in slugging percentage (.530). He’s also tied for second in extra-base hits (34).
DeLoach, who was the High-A West player of the month for June, is riding an eight-game hitting streak and has recorded at least one hit in 30 of his last 33 games. Since the start of June, DeLoach is batting .357 with five homers, one triple and 18 doubles in 35 games.
Matt Brash: The 23-year-old right-handed pitcher’s promotion was announced last Wednesday. Brash, the Mariners’ No. 26-ranked prospect, posted a 2.55 earned-run average in 42 1/3 innings with Everett this season.
Over the course of his 10 appearances with the AquaSox this year, Brash totaled 62 strikeouts and 25 walks. He struck out 33.9% of the batters he faced and averaged 1.5 strikeouts per inning, while limiting opponents to a .204 batting average.
Brash was selected by the San Diego Padres out of Niagara University in the fourth round of the 2019 draft. The Mariners acquired him from San Diego in an August 2020 trade-deadline deal.
STANDOUTS AT THE PLATE
Here are some AquaSox batters who had a noteworthy series this past week against Tri-City:
Jack Larsen: The 26-year-old outfielder went 8-for-20 in the series with one home run, one triple and three doubles. But his biggest moment came in Saturday’s 4-3 walkoff victory, when he drew a full-count, bases-loaded walk with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning to bring home the winning run. Larsen is batting .306 this season with six homers, two triples and 23 doubles. He ranks third in the High-A West in batting average, third in on-base percentage (.421) and fifth in slugging percentage (.514).
Zach DeLoach: In his final series with Everett before being promoted to Double-A, DeLoach went 10-for-26 with three home runs and four doubles.
Patrick Frick: The High-A West batting leader continued his success at the plate by going 8-for-22 in the series with two home runs, two doubles and seven RBIs. The 24-year-old shortstop leads the league in both batting average (.316) and on-base percentage (.442). He has seven homers and 17 doubles this season.
Connor Hoover: The 25-year-old third baseman continued his massive turnaround at the plate by going 6-for-19 in the series with four doubles, while extending his hitting streak to 18 games. Prior to his hitting streak, Hoover was batting just .134 over his first 34 games of the season. But since then, he’s batted .329 with one home run, one triple and 10 doubles.
Austin Shenton: In the two games he played for the AquaSox last week before being promoted to Double-A, Shenton went 5-for-8 with two home runs, one triple and two doubles.
ARIAS CONTINUES STRIKEOUT SPREE
Everett reliever Dayeison Arias continued his recent dominance by pitching 2 1/3 more scoreless innings this past week. The 24-year-old right-hander from the Dominican Republic struggled a bit early in the season, allowing five runs in 7 2/3 innings over his first seven appearances. But since then, he’s been lights-out. Over his last eight appearances, Arias has allowed just one run, four hits and one walk in 12 2/3 innings. He has a whopping 57.8% strikeout rate over that span, having struck out 26 of the last 45 batters he’s faced. During that stretch, he’s posted a 0.39 WHIP (walks plus hits per innings pitched) and a .093 opponents’ batting average.
The AquaSox remain atop the High-A West, with a 4.5-game lead over second-place Eugene and an 11-game lead over third-place Vancouver.
The AquaSox hit the road for a six-game series against Vancouver that runs Tuesday through Sunday. The series will be in Hillsboro, Oregon, where Vancouver is playing its home games due to the U.S.-Canada border being closed to nonessential travel. After that, Everett returns home to Funko Field on July 27 for a seven-game series against Eugene.