Frogs trip Indians with small ball

  • By Nick Patterson / Herald Writer
  • Saturday, July 16, 2005 9:00pm
  • Sports

EVERETT – In today’s juiced-up version of baseball in which BALCO is a household name and “chicks dig the long ball,” it sometimes seems the power to hit home runs is the only thing that matters.

But Saturday night the Everett AquaSox showed that the little things still count, too.

Everett played the fundamental parts of the game to perfection, and the AquaSox defeated the Spokane Indians 4-2 in a Northwest League game.

An Everett Memorial Stadium crowd of 3,694 watched the AquaSox (13-12) execute bunts, run the bases intelligently and play flawless defense.

“That was probably the best game we’ve had as a team all year as far as doing things fundamentally right,” AquaSox manager Pedro Grifol said.

“Little things win this game, period,” Grifol added. “You can bang the ball all you want, if you can’t pitch and play defense you’re not going to win this game.”

It didn’t look like it was going to be that type of game when Casey Craig smoked Spokane starting pitcher Broc Coffman’s first pitch of the game for a home run.

But from that point Everett was all about fundamentals. Bunts helped the AquaSox score their second and fourth runs, and on the third run Daniel Santin made a heads-up play on the bases to keep himself alive so he could score later in the inning.

That small ball was typified by shortstop Rob Hudson. Hudson bunted for a base hit to keep a rally alive in the second inning, drove in the go-ahead run in the sixth with a ground-ball single, then drove in the final run with a suicide squeeze bunt.

“I think (the little things) are very important,” Hudson said. “That’s the key to success for scoring runs. We’re working together in unison and jelling now. Hopefully it’s just a matter of time before we reel off 10-11 in a row.”

Everett also received tremendous relief pitching. Reliever Jeff Gilmore got the win, getting 10 of the 11 batters he faced, including six strikeouts. He’s 1-0. David Asher got the save, his first, with a perfect ninth.

Everett starter Eric Carter went 42/3 innings, giving up two runs on three hits and five walks. He struck out two.

“Our starter struggled a little with the five walks,” Grifol said. “But he was able to make big pitches when he had to and got out of trouble. He competed well. After he came out Gilmore came in and did a tremendous job. He attacked the strike zone and mixed up his pitches.”

Spokane reliever Juan Maldonado took the loss to fall to 2-2.

The AquaSox took the lead right off the bat when Craig launched Coffman’s first pitch of the game over the homer porch in right field and out of the stadium, staking Everett to a 1-0 lead. The homer was Craig’s third of the season.

Everett doubled its lead in the second. Trevor Heid walked, stole second, then scored on Brian Schweiger’s long single to right-center, making it 2-0.

Spokane then tied it up in the fifth. Joey Hooft and Terry Blunt each reached by walk after long at bats. German Duran then lined a single to right, scoring both runners. The AquaSox would have had a chance to nail Blunt at the plate, but first baseman Jeff Flaig couldn’t handle the relay throw.

Everett then took the lead in the sixth against Maldonado. Santin led off with a double and took third on a groundout. Schweiger followed with a high hopper that Spokane shortstop Duran, playing in on the infield grass, booted. However Santin, not a fast runner, held third rather than risking being thrown out at the plate. That proved vital when Hudson followed with his single to left, scoring Santin and making it 3-2.

Everett then added an insurance run in the eighth with a textbook manufactured run. Heid led off by being hit by a pitch, Schweiger sacrificed him to second, Heid stole third. Hudson followed by laying down a perfect squeeze bunt that he nearly beat out for a single.

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