Everett AquaSox shortstop Anthony Phillips had a pleasant surprise waiting for him when the Sox returned home from their season-opening series in Vancouver for Everett’s home opener on June 23. The South Africa native’s parents traveled all the way from their home in the Cape Town suburb of Bellville for two-plus weeks of following Phillips’ exploits in the Northwest League.
“They surprised me,” Phillips said. “Somehow they and my host mom (Kristi Simmons) figured that out, set it up and everything. It was awesome that they showed up.”
Phillips’ parents, Alan and Gussie, arranged to come watch their son play behind Phillips’ back in order to surprise him. It is the first time they’ve had the opportunity to watch their son play as a professional.
“Anthony was phoning us occasionally and saying he’d like one of the family to come out and visit,” explained Alan Phillips, who is also the head coach of South Africa’s national baseball team. “We said we weren’t sure, trying to sidetrack him.”
The secret was almost maintained, but not quite. Alan and Gussie’s final flight was delayed, and that gave Anthony just enough time to sleuth it together.
“I kind of figured it out about an hour before they got here,” Anthony Phillips said. “I was trying to call home, no one was picking up. I called my mom’s cell phone, my dad’s cell phone, no one was picking up. I called my brother, he picked up and couldn’t give me a straight answer where they were.”
Alan and Gussie Phillips have been diligent traveling Sox fans since arriving. They watched the home-opening series against Spokane, followed the team to Eugene, and will watch the remainder of the series against Yakima before heading back home.
“It’s really good to be here, really nice to watch him play,” Alan Phillips said. “Last season (when Anthony Phillips was also a member of the AquaSox) we listened in on the internet back home, but it’s good to see the people and the players and interact. It’s really something special for us to be out here.”
Sox manager John Tamargo tapped an unexpected source when he needed a pinch runner late in Saturday night’s 3-2 victory over Yakima, summoning pitcher Eddy Hernandez to replace Guy Welsh at first base in the ninth inning. But the move wasn’t that unorthodox, considering Everett was short on healthy bodies and Hernandez spent the previous four seasons in the Seattle Mariners organization as an outfielder before being converted to the mound. … The Sox had second baseman Hawkins Gebbers back in the lineup Sunday. Gebbers sat out the previous six games because of a groin strain. … Yakima lost three players between Saturday night’s and Sunday afternoon’s games as pitcher Brad Wilson, catcher Jorge Corniel and infielder Andrew Fie were all off to other destinations. Wilson was promoted to South Bend of the mid Class A Midwest League, while Corniel and Fie were called up to Visalia of the high Class A California League to cover for injuries.