AquaSox struggle to find identities; Pitching needs to settle down in rough homestand

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Everett AquaSox First Baseman Evan White. (Photo Credit: SSU/Kevin Kapanowski)

The AquaSox limped into town on July 4th with a 1 game winning streak after battling Hillsboro for five games, but losing the first four of the series (three of those games in close fashion). Their opponents were the Tri-City Dust Devils who were currently ahead of them in the division. It was the beginning of the 2-game series in front of a nearly sold out crowd. The atmosphere was ecstatic, a marching band played the national anthem and the crowd was singing and cheering loudly the entire game. An entirely different mood, a tone that nearly ignited a comeback, the Frogs put up a heck of a fight but came up short.

The Frogs starting pitcher was Oliver Jaskie. The Dust-Devils hit him, and hit him hard. They hit for the cycle in the first inning (a single, double, triple and a home run). They put up 4 quick runs and took the early lead and sent Jaskie to an early shower. Pitcher Steven Ridings came in and pitched a quality ballgame. He went 5 innings and gave up one run while striking out three. Unfortunately, the rest of the bullpen couldn’t shut them down. The Frogs couldn’t convert their baserunners into runs when they most needed to as well. Catcher Juan Camacho continued to rise the ladder with two hits and 2b Joseph Rosa continued his hot hitting with two more hits, including hitting his 4th home run of the season. In the end, they didn’t have the mojo. The final score ended up being 8-4 with the Dust Devils scoring 3 late runs. The post-game fireworks were spectacular as the fans temporarily forgot what had happened.

SSU Players of the game: 2b Joseph Rosa and C Juan Camacho who continues to impress with their aggressive play. Juan not only had two important hits, but he played stellar defense including throwing out a base stealer at a key moment in the game. One important key note, 2b Joseph Rosa was one of the league leaders in slugging percentage as he entered the week. By hitting a home run, he only helped his cause.

Game two was a different story as the Frogs came out hungry. They pounded out 15 hits and 13 runs for a final score of 13-3. The Frogs were introduced to a new SS at the beginning of the game. His name is Chris Torres, and it looks like it will be fun to watch his development. Tacoma Rainier pitcher, Tyler Cloyd, who was on a rehab assignment, made quick work in the first. We quickly put up two first inning runs, on RBI hits by 1st round pick Evan White and newly converted outfielder Eugene Helder who drove in another run. Pitcher Ryne Inman came in for the next five innings and he became a new pitcher after this outing. In the third inning, he gave up three runs, but after the visit to the mound he possibly became a new pitcher to look out for. He proceeded to pitch five innings, a dominating performance that ended in his finest performance of the season. The bullpen came in and finished them off the last 3 innings. Every starter had at least a hit or more, with 3b Johnny Adams and Joseph Rosa each having 3 hits.

SSU Players of the Game: The players of the game were the bullpen. Ryne Inman became a new pitcher. He went five innings. Yes, he gave up 3 runs on 4 hits, but after the visit to the mound, he became Mr. Untouchable. He went on to strikeout 9 batters. Relief pitchers JP Sears and Matt Clancy shut them down for the last 3 innings, striking out 6!

The next opponents that came into town were the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes, who were compatible with our Frogs, looking to win a five-game series against us. Opening night, the Volcanoes took an early 4-0 off starting pitcher Michael Suarez. The Frogs battled back. The game was 5-5 when we went to the bullpen, who could not hold the lead. The final score was 9-5 as the Volcanoes had 17 hits.

SSU Players of the Game: Newly converted outfielder Eugene Helder who had 2 hits. He continued to climb to nearly .300 avg while also playing gold-glove defense.

In game two, the Frogs fell 9-7. It was a back and forth game but the pitching couldn’t hold on in the end. Johnny Adams had two hits and Juan Camacho went yard. But the Frogs couldn’t play a complete game on defense or offense.

SSU Players of the Game: C Juan Camacho who is quietly seeing his average soar up the leader-board while he plays top-notch defense. He continues to throw out runners trying to steal on him. He also continues to take a beating behind the plate while stopping nearly every ball in the dirt. This pitching staff is making him work for it, definitely.

Game 3 once again was close, but the Frogs fell once again 10-8. The Volcanoes scored 7 early runs, turning the game into a marathon 4+ hours. The Frogs came back with 8 runs in the third inning but could not hold on. AquaSox Andres Torres showed he was human and gave up a surprising 6 runs in the first. Our pitching just couldn’t hold on, as seems to be the recent trend.

SSU Players of the Game: 1st round pick Evan White started at 1st base pounding out 3 hits, including his 1st home run at Memorial Stadium.

Game 4 saw the Frogs fall for the 4th game in a row. The final score was 7-6, another close battle. The hitting exploded for 12 hits, but wasn’t enough. They showed signs of life in the 8th inning with a RBI single by Johnny Adams, but they couldn’t sustain it. The pitching couldn’t shut down the offense of the Volcanoes in a back and forth ballgame.

SSU Players of the Game: OF Eugene Helder who had 3 hits who continued to have a quietly hot home stand.

Game 5 was different. The Frogs came to play. They scored early and never looked back. Ryne Inman took the mound, and after his last performance, one wondered if that would continue. He didn’t disappoint. He went five innings and picked up the victory, giving up only two hits and one run. He shut down their high-powered offense. The Frogs scored early and often. 2b Joseph Rosa hit a 2-run home run and Evan White followed up with a solo shot. Onil Pena later added his own solo shot. Best of all, they held the Volcanoes starting first baseman in check for the first time in the series. The defense was strong, despite the errors that were committed in the game. Camacho was strong behind the plate as usual. The final score was 9-5 at the end, but wasn’t close as it indicated.

SSU Players of the Game:There were lots of stars, but the star of the game was the pitching for once. Ryne Inman dominated from the start.

Looking ahead, the AquaSox head off on an 8-game road trip to Tri-Cities and Eugene before they return home on July 20th for a 5-game home-stand. They are gelling together, but need to re-establish roles in their pitching staff to make a run at the division title. We shall see if the big-league club moves things around before the club comes back home. This club has shades of 2010, but they need to stick together for the remainder of the season. I hope they do because they have tons of talent and are fun to watch. Hope to see the fans come out to support them on the next home-stand. They won’t be disappointed if they do. Go Frogs!!

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