Bins leads the way as AquaSox hold off Hops’ rally, win 8-6

Carter Bins homered for Everett, which benefitted from 3 bases-loaded walks by Hillsboro pitchers.

EVERETT — When it comes to Carter Bins, the front-facing numbers can be a bit deceiving.

The Everett catcher, who went 2-for-3 with a home run and three RBI to lead the AquaSox to an 8-6 win over Hillsboro on Monday at Funko Field, is hitting just .196 this season, but the coaches have been thrilled with Bins’ progress at the plate, defensively and in the clubhouse.

“As a coaching staff, we had a meeting with him the other day and we were just singing his praises about how well he prepares and how he’s really developing into a leader,” AquaSox manager Louis Boyd said. “He’s really looking like he’s taking the next step to perform on a daily basis at a high level.”

From the point of view of a baseball traditionalist, Bins’ first season has been a disappointment. He’s batting below .200 and has no doubles or triples.

But his peripheral numbers tell a different story.

Bins’ on-base percentage (OBP) is second among Everett hitters at .397 — behind only Patrick Frick’s .418 — and his .238 batting average on balls in play (BABIP) is the third lowest on the team, suggesting he’s been the victim of some bad luck.

“When we were down in Eugene, I was seeing the ball well … but there was some jam shots that turned into hits and some line drives that were caught,” he said. “But it all works itself out.”

That’s the attitude the AquaSox coaching staff has lauded Bins for throughout the season.

“He does a really good job of staying patient, whether he’s getting a hit or not,” Boyd said. “In a large period of time, the results will take care of themselves because he’s swinging at good pitches.”

To emphasize that point, Boyd said pitch tracking data indicates Bins swings at a high percentage of pitches inside the strike zone and is below the major-league average on the percentage of pitches he swings at that are outside the zone.

Bins’ profile coming into the draft was that of a plus receiver behind the plate with some pop in his bat. While he’s struggled to hit for average, Bins’ power has been present all season. He smacked his sixth homer of the season Monday.

The Fresno State product started the season OK, hitting .235 with two homers, but hit a nasty slump in July, when he hit just .138 with two homers.

Throughout his struggles, Bins has shown a propensity for taking his walks, with a 17.8 walk percentage. The fact that he’s been a magnet for errant pitches doesn’t hurt his OBP either. He’s been plunked a league-high 10 times this season.

“I think I’m just not afraid to wear pitches,” Bins said. “I don’t really get out of the way.”

On Monday night, Bins picked up his first RBI in the first inning on a single to left to put the AquaSox up 2-1. He then ambushed a first-pitch offering and drove it over the right-center field wall in the fourth inning to extend the lead to 3-1.

“Every swing he took tonight was aggressive and violent,” Boyd said. “I’m sure the pitchers were scared to pitch to him, especially after that home run. As long as he keeps living up to that mark he holds to himself, he’s going to have a lot more success here.”

Tristin English cut the lead in half with a solo homer in the sixth, but Frick and Trent Tingelstad worked bases-loaded walks.

The Hops eventually tied the game after Eddie Hernandez launched a solo homer in the seventh and Corbin Carroll doubled in the tying run in the eighth.

But control issues doomed the Hillsboro pitching staff once again in the eighth, walking in two more runs to help Everett build a three-run lead entering the ninth.

The AquaSox walked 11 times total on Monday.

“With the Mariners, we preach controlling the zone, making sure that we’re waiting for pitches in the damage zone in the middle of the plate and being patient and being selective with a commitment to our approach,” Boyd said. “Eleven walks, that’s what we’re looking for. We had runners on base all night long and we score some runs because of it.”

Everett starter Damon Casetta-Stubbs worked around a no-out, bases-loaded jam in the first, limiting the damage to just a run. Casetta-Stubbs fanned seven over four frames, one short of his season-high in strikeouts.

“He just got better as he went, and that’s something that is great to see from my point of view,” Boyd said. “Sometimes we don’t get out to the start we want to get to, but it’s about how you respond. That’s a conversation we’ve had as a team recently and he personified that tonight.”

Gladfelter “all right” after early exit

Cash Gladfelter was pinch hit for in the fifth inning after fouling off a pitch in his previous at-bat, but Boyd said he’s expected to be fine.

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