EVERETT — There was a power surge on Monday at Funko Field, and at the core of it was Salem-Keizer catcher Ricardo Genoves.
The Volcanoes erupted for six home runs, two courtesy of Genoves — the first of which came off rehabbing Seattle Mariner Sam Tuivailala, in Salem-Keizer’s 13-3 rout over the Everett AquaSox on Monday.
Genoves kick started the rout by drubbing a three-run homer over the right-field fence over Tuivailala, recovering from a torn right Achilles injury sustained last year, in the first inning.
“That was the ball I just saw I could do damage and was like, ‘Oh, that was a home run, I’ll take it. A big-league guy’” Genoves said. “That was pretty nice … You know he’s a big-league guy and throws everything in the strike zone. I was just looking for one pitch. It’s hard, but I just (swung) it.”
Then, the Venezuelan backstop was the fifth Volcano to clear the fence in the fourth inning and the third in a back-to-back-to-back-to-back sequence. Jeff Houghtby led off the inning with a homer, Yorlis Rodriguez was hit by a pitch and then Sean Roby, Franklin Labour, Genoves and Tyler Flores homered in succession to give Salem-Keizer a 13-0 lead.
“I’m super proud of our guys for their approach,” Salem-Keizer manager Mark Hallberg said. “They stuck with their approach all day, got good pitches to hit and when they got those pitches they did damage with it. It’s a by-product of good process sometimes comes good results.
“I’ve never seen anything like that. It was contagious and balls were flying out of here left and right.”
Salem-Keizer fell one roundtripper short for the the league’s record for home runs hit by a team in a game and the five homers served up by Everett’s Juan Mercedes set a Northwest League mark for homers allowed in an inning.
Genoves was signed as an international free agent by the Giants in 2015 out of Venezuela and debuted in the United States in the Arizona Rookie League in 2017, where he posted a .252/.327/.356 slash line over 39 games.
He appeared in 50 games for the Volcanoes in 2018, but started just 32 behind the plate, as Giants 2018 first-round draft pick, No. 2 overall pick, Joey Bart commandeered a great deal of playing time behind the dish.
“For me it was just another player,” Genoves said. “I just tried to, when I get my opportunity, play my game. That’s all. I’m here and this is the second year for me and I’m working on it. That’s the only thing I can do, and things like today happens.”
Genoves also revamped his swing with the help of the Volcanoes coaching staff this year, utilizing a more fluid motion.
“With that growth I think comes with a little bit of consistency,” Hallberg said. “He’s a super talented young man and if he continues to stick with the process he’ll see growth and development.”
It’s shown in the statistics, too. After hitting .243 with a .639 on-base-plus-slugging (OPS) last year, Genoves boasts a .265 average and a .942 OPS in eight games this season.
“For me, last year was a bit (harder) because I couldn’t hit really well,” Genoves said. “(In the) mind I just feel way better, I know what works for me, what doesn’t work for me. I just stay with a plan every single day, my approach for the game and my relationship with the pitchers, everything is just a little different, because I know how hard I have to work for the season.”
Growing up in Venezuela, Genoves dreamed of being a professional baseball player. His older brother, Ernesto Genoves, a catcher in the Astros organization from 2008-2013, was a major role model for him, he says.
When his agent told him he signed with the Giants, he said he was overjoyed.
“I said, ‘Timeout, are you serious?” he said. “That was pretty fun for me. That’s all, I was just like, ‘OK, sounds good.’ That’s good for me.’”
He signed for the Giants for $550,000, according to Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com. His brother and his father, Joseph, a catcher who played university ball in Venezuela during his playing days, were major inspirations.
— Jesse Sanchez (@JesseSanchezMLB) July 2, 2015
“They gave me everything,” Genoves said. “Watching those guys play, that’s why I love it.”
Salem-Keizer chased Tuivailala early from his scheduled one-inning rehab stint after Roby poked a RBI single to left and Genoves hammered his three-run homer to right.
Kwan Adkins poked a double to right field to score another and Houghtby doubled in another off Ivan Fortunato spot Salem-Keizer a 7-0 lead after one frame.
Trent Tingelstad, a Marysville Pilchuck product, clubbed a two-run homer to right-field in the sixth and Carter Bins thumped a solo homer to right-center in the ninth for the AquaSox’s only run production on Monday.
Salem-Keizer starter Kervin Castro allowed just two hits and struck out eight while walking just one over five scoreless innings for the Volcanoes.
—Nate Fisher’s relief appearance was a bright spot for Everett’s pitching staff on Monday. The left-hander from the University of Nebraska fanned four and struck out the side in the seventh in his two-inning appearance.
—Kipp Rollings and Garrett Westberg were also solid in relief. Rollings, a 24th-round pick out of North Greenville, struck out two over 1 2/3 hitless innings and Westberg allowed one hit and struck out a batter in his two-inning outing.