Bats do heavy lifting for AquaSox in series split with Spokane

Everett held its own against the Northwest League’s top team.

Dariel Gomez

Dariel Gomez

The Everett AquaSox may not have had quite the success in terms of wins and losses last week as they did the week prior. However, the Sox kept things headed in a positive direction.

Everett took on the Northwest League-leading Spokane Indians in a six-game road series last week, and the Sox came home with a split, including victories in the final two games of the series.

Everett’s abysmal start to the season was halted two weeks ago when the Sox took five of six at home against the Hillsboro Hops. But the Sox faced a stiffer test last week, having to go on the road to face the league leaders, who came into the series red hot.

Early on it looked like the Sox were headed back to their struggling ways, dropping the first two games of the series while allowing 15 runs in the process. But the Sox recovered to win three of the last four.

It was Everett’s bats that did the heavy lifting in the series. The Sox batted .272 with 25 extra-base hits and a .825 OPS in the six games, scoring 41 runs for an average of 6.8 per contest. The hitters truly came alive in the series’ final two games, when they busted out for 22 runs, with every batter in the lineup each night reaching base at least once.

Everett now sits at 19-24 and remains in last place in the six-team league. However, the Sox are now just one game behind the Tri-City Dust Devils as they try to climb out of the league’s cellar. Everett remained five games behind first-place Spokane.

Stars of the week

Hitter: Dariel Gomez. The 25-year-old first baseman, who was acquired by the Seattle Mariners when they selected him from the St. Louis Cardinals in the minor-league portion of the Rule 5 draft prior to the 2020 season, clobbered the ball to the tune of three home runs and eight RBI in five appearances. All five of his hits during the week went for extra bases, with the biggest coming when he slugged a tiebreaking grand slam in the top of the seventh inning of Sunday’s 10-5 victory. He’s now tied for the league lead in homers with eight.

Outfielder Victor Labrada receives an honorable mention after batting .458 with seven RBI in the series.

Pitcher: Prelander Berroa. The 22-year-old right-hander, who was acquired by the Mariners in a trade with the San Francisco Giants earlier this month, was fantastic in his fourth start for the Sox, throwing five shutout innings in last Thursday’s 4-0 victory. He allowed just one hit and one walk during his appearance while striking out nine. His effort was crucial in getting Everett back in the series after dropping the first two games.

The week ahead

Everett returns home this week for a seven-game series against the Eugene Emeralds beginning Tuesday at Funko Field. The series has an extra game because it includes the completion of the April 10 game between the teams that was suspended because of weather. The completion of that game will be part of a doubleheader on Tuesday.

Eugene, an affiliate of the San Francisco Giants, sits in second place in the Northwest League at 21-18, just one game behind Spokane. The Emeralds are coming off a home series against Tri-City in which Eugene took four of five, including winning the last three.

The Emeralds are led by shortstop Marco Luciano, the crown jewel in San Francisco’s prospect pool. Luciano (.300, eight homers, 16 RBI), who is tied for the league lead in homers, is ranked by MLB.com as the eighth-best prospect in all of baseball. He and third baseman Casey Schmitt (.316, seven homers, 20 RBI) have been two of the league’s top offensive performers. However, Eugene’s top pitcher, left-hander Kyle Harrison (1.55 ERA, 59 strikeouts in 29 innings), was promoted to Richmond of the Double-A Eastern League last week.

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