EVERETT — Just a couple pitches before Juan Camacho’s game-changing swing, it didn’t look like he’d make it through the game.
A foul ball off his shin sent Camacho to the ground in pain, and he hobbled around the batter’s box for a couple minutes before grounding his cleats back into the dirt and settling in for the rest of the at-bat.
After taking a couple balls, the longtime Mariners farmhand changed the course of Sunday’s game, thumping a solo homer to give Everett a 4-3 lead in the seventh inning. The AquaSox went on to win the Northwest League game, 6-3, over the Eugene Emeralds on Sunday at Funko Field at Everett Memorial Stadium.
“I was making sure he was OK,” AquaSox manager Louis Boyd said. “He was down for a little bit and he took his time, which is good because a lot of guys rush into the box even if they’re not feeling good.”
Camacho had endured a tough 2019 campaign, with his season batting average dropping as low as .122 on Aug. 1, but the 23-year-old catcher has turned it on of late. Camacho, in his third season suiting up for the AquaSox, is hitting .308 over his past 10 games, and has hit safely in four of his past five.
“His attitude has been the driver of that,” Boyd said of the Las Mochis, Sinaloa, Mexico, native. “He’s really shown up every day with a smile on his face and positive attitude and the results are taking care of themselves because he’s taken care of his attitude.”
The Emeralds pulled ahead 1-0 in the third when Yovanny Cuevas doubled in Pedro Martinez off Mariners’ first-round pick George Kirby.
But the AquaSox knotted the score 1-1 on Cesar Izturis Jr.’s RBI triple in the third. Carter Bins opened up the lead to 3-1 with a two-run homer to left field.
Eugene tied the game on Cuevas’ solo homer to right-center in the fifth and Grayson Byrd’s RBI single in the seventh.
Connor Hoover smacked his fifth home run of the season on a screaming line drive over the right-field wall in the eighth to tack on two insurance runs for Everett.
It was a big bounce back win for Everett after imploding late in a blowout loss on Saturday night.
“We had a talk this morning as a team that we really need to lock down in the eighth and ninth,” Boyd said. “We had allowed way too many runs, way too many errors, too many mistakes. We responded with two zeros in the eighth and ninth tonight.”
“I think our guys are in a really good spot right now.”
Everett snapped a 14-game streak in which the club had allowed a run in the eighth or ninth inning. … The anthem standoff between the two clubs took an interesting turn on Sunday. Everett’s Garrett Westberg and Eugene’s Chris Allen kept their hands on their hearts well after the game ended.
Both guys are now in center field.
Garrett Westberg for Everett and Chris Allen for Eugene. Water and ice is being dumped on guys to try and get them to move their hand from their heart.
Estimated time since the anthem: 3 hours, 12 seconds. pic.twitter.com/i8gRaX1IuR
— Josh Horton (@JoshHortonEDH) August 26, 2019
Josh Horton covers the AquaSox for the Herald. Follow him on Twitter, @JoshHortonEDH