EVERETT — The effects of the long layoff Cal Raleigh experienced between the end of his Florida State career and the beginning of his Everett AquaSox career appear to have resolved themselves.
Raleigh, the third-round pick by the Seattle Mariners in June’s draft, played his final game at FSU in early June. He did not sign with the Mariners until just before the July 6 deadline and debuted with the Frogs on July 18.
He had a pair of RBI singles in his first game before going into an 0-for-14 slump in Everett’s ensuing road trip to Boise.
That early-season struggle appears to be a thing of the past. Raleigh entered Wednesday’s game against the Hawks with a five-game hitting streak, including an 8-for-15 stretch in his past three games as the AquaSox wrapped up a five-game road trip to Salem-Keizer.
“I’m just seeing the ball better,” Raleigh said. “It’s not really my stroke — it’s just seeing the ball and getting reps and (facing) live pitching. That’s the biggest thing — getting into a rhythm and more of a routine.”
Raleigh hit his first two professional home runs in a 3-for-5 effort last Saturday and raised his average from .111 to .293 over a span of five games. The switch-hitting catcher is now slashing .293/.356/.488 with two home runs and six RBI.
His success at the plate has mirrored that of the team. The Frogs fell 14-1 to the Volcanoes in the opening game of the road trip, then pounded out 57 hits and scored 37 runs in the final four games of the series. Salem-Keizer took the series 3-2, but Everett claimed the season series 6-4.
“Hitting’s contagious, it doesn’t matter what team you’re on,” Raleigh said. “You play well and other guys want to do well. It’s how it is. We swung the bat well. We didn’t get the results we wanted as far as winning, but hopefully we’ll come in here and have a good five games.”
Raleigh, who stands 6-foot-3 and weighs 225 pounds, has switch-hit since T-ball. It was instilled in him by his father, Todd, a former college catcher at Western Carolina and former head coach at both Western Carolina and Tennessee.
“He takes lots of the credit as far as that goes and he deserves it,” Raleigh said.
Raleigh made his eighth start behind the plate Wednesday and that is the place he prefers to be, despite the trend of elite-hitting major-league catchers moving to other positions.
“I get it — guys with big power, you don’t want to get hurt and you want them in the lineup more and be more durable longer in their pro careers,” Raleigh said. “But some guys are too valuable to move from behind the plate, so that’s one of the guys I want to be. I want to be a guy that can stay back there and play many years.”
Everett infielder Bobby Honeyman is also swinging the bat well. Entering Wednesday, Honeyman had a seven-game hitting streak in which he was hitting .425. In 29 games with Everett this summer Honeyman was slashing .358/.393/.477 with a home run and a dozen RBI.
AquaSox outfielder Charlie McConnell was hitting .419 in his past 10 games and had a six-game hitting streak heading into Wednesday’s game.
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