EVERETT —Miguel Perez entered his final plate appearance in the ninth 0-for-4 with two strikeouts, but he wasn’t antsy or anxious in the most tense moment of the game.
The 18-year-old outfielder watched four balls out of the strike zone whiz by him with the bases loaded, walking the game-winning run home in the AquaSox’s 6-5 win over the Vancouver Canadians at Funko Field at Everett Memorial Stadium, opening a three-game series.
Perez’s trot to first base transformed into a full-out sprint into center field, as his teammates chased him down to pin him down for a Gatorade bath.
“You have to be ready in baseball. You never know when you’re going to have an opportunity to have an at-bat, or defense or something on the field,” AquaSox manager Jose Moreno said. “He was struggling a little bit offensively, and I feel really good for him that he had the opportunity in the last at-bat in the last inning with men and scoring position. It’s good for him and his development and his growth.”
The AquaSox hung three runs in the bottom of the first, as Trent Tingelstad walked with the bases loaded to bring in Austin Shenton, Patrick Frick plated Robert Perez Jr. with a RBI single and Cade Marlowe scored Ryan Court — on a rehab assignment from triple-A Tacoma — on a sacrifice fly.
Vancouver chipped away at the lead, as Trevor Schweke scored on a passed ball on Juan Camacho and Cameron Eden provided a RBI groundout to cut the lead to 3-2 in the top of the second
Court plated Shenton on a RBI groundout in the second to extend the lead out to two, but the Canadians tied it in the third with Ryan Sloniger’s RBI double and Brett Wright’s RBI single and assumed the lead on Tanner Morris’ RBI double to left in the fourth.
Luis Joseph poked a sacrifice fly with the bases loaded in the eighth to tie it up, scoring Frick, setting up Perez for his walkoff walk.
The AquaSox recorded seven hits and walked eight times on Tuesday, but have struggled to generate offense this season. Entering Tuesday’s game, Everett was fifth out of eight Northwest League teams in on-base percentage at .297 and tied for fourth with three teams with 77 hits.
“We have to do a better job offensively,” Moreno said. “This is the beginning of being more consistent at the plate. We have to take better pitches at the plate, our plan needs to be better. It’s a good thing that we can show we can do it. We just have to do it on a daily basis to have us win more.”
Tim Elliott started for the AquaSox and allowed two runs on three hits while walking two and fanning two. Jorge Benitez followed by allowing three runs, two earned, on two hits. He walked three and struck out two.
Everett’s bullpen, consisting of Logan Rhinehart, Reid Morgan and Travis Kuhn, combined to scatter three hits over five scoreless innings.
Frick finished with 2-for-3 with a run scored, a RBI and two walks.
Shenton leaves with injury
The AquaSox third baseman was replaced in the field by Joseph in the fourth inning after sustaining a right-knee injury fielding a ball in the third inning, according to Moreno.
“For prevention, we took him out of the lineup,” Moreno said, adding he wasn’t sure of the severity.
Shenton, the Mariners’ fifth-round pick out of Florida International in 2019, was 2-for-2 with a pair of singles before exiting the game. He leads the AquaSox with a .343 batting average this season.