EVERETT — When Jarod Bayless recorded the final out on Monday, sealing the AquaSox’s 3-1 win over Vancouver, the players unloaded out of the dugout and the bullpen to celebrate on the mound.
They weren’t celebrating a playoff berth — the AquaSox were eliminated on Friday — nor was there a significant milestone achieved. You coud hardly tell the AquaSox were playing a meaningless game from the jovial environment during pregame warmups to the wide smiles sported by the coaches and players during the game.
“Going into the last day, we want to go out with a bang,” starting pitcher Damon Casetta-Stubbs said. “The clubhouse was really high-spirited. … Everyone was having fun; it was probably the most fun we’ve had all year. Morale was high.”
Trent Tingelstad, a Marysville native, opened up the game with a two-run double to right-center field in the eighth inning, scoring Utah Jones and Cesar Izturis Jr. to give the AquaSox a 3-1 lead.
“I was just trying to score one, not trying to do too much,” Tingelstad said. “We didn’t need a home run or anything, so I was just trying to stay short on one, just a barrel on something and get a base hit and score one at least. I was able to do that and get a little more with it.”
After ending the season a high note, Tingelstad will be at the Mariners’ high-performance camp in Peoria, Arizona after hitting .240 with 11 doubles, five homers and a team-high 41 RBI.
“I’ve been working on some things here and there, so to have some success to end the season is a good thing for me,” Tingelstad said. “I’m still going to work on some things in the offseason and get better as we go. It was a great season, though.”
Casetta-Stubbs allowed one run on four hits over six innings, striking out four and walking no one — his first start this season with the AquaSox with zero walks.
It was far from a “meaningless” start for Casetta-Stubbs.
“The numbers still matter,” Casetta-Stubbs said. “It doesn’t matter what you do when you’re playing for an affiliate, you have to show out. Even if you’re 100-games back, you have to.”
Casetta-Stubbs, a Vancouver, Washington native, finished the season with a 4.11 ERA in a league-high 70 innings. His 15 games started also led the league.
Vancouver struck first on Cameron Eden’s RBI groundout in the third.
But Jones homered in the bottom of the fourth, breaking up a no-hitter, to tie the game at 1-1.
Josh Horton covers the AquaSox for the Herald. Follow him on Twitter, @JoshHortonEDH