No team in the history of baseball has ever gone the entire season undefeated. Yet, each year, we count the wins until it is no longer possible. Monday night, in game four of the five-game opening series, the Everett Aquasox dashed the undefeated season hopes of the Hillsboro Hops, 7-1.
Starting in the third inning, the Aquasox added one or two runs slowly building the lead and shoving the goal of the Hops’ bats further and further away. Catcher Jake Anchia came to the plate four times, reaching first base every time either by an error, launching a two-run homer over the left field fence or getting hit by a pitch – twice. Seven batters in all would reach base safely on nine hits.
If it wasn’t the bats of the Aquasox, it was the pitching of two Everett pitchers who combined for the mastery of the mound. Starting pitcher Jheyson Caraballo (1-0) went six innings on 63 pitches to limit the Hops to one run for the night on two hits. Tyler Jackson (S-1) followed for the last three scoreless innings and allowed the other two Hops hits for the save.
The Hops lone score came in the fourth inning when catcher Andy Yerzy sailed his own home run over the left field fence. Just before Andy’s plate appearance, a double play erased another runner on base. It wouldn’t have made a difference to have that extra run as the other three hits (all singles) never made it past second base.
The Hops pitching couldn’t stop the Everett Aquasox from incrementally building the lead run by run. Adrian Del Moral (0-1) started for the Hops and lasted three innings while giving up two runs on five hits for the loss. West Tunnell, Brian Christian and Ryan Ricci each allowed at least one run in their attempt to stem the flow. Both pitching staffs struck out five and walked two. Even the difference in hits (9-4, favoring the home team Aquasox) could not explain the bigger difference of the final score.
The loss dropped the Hillsboro Hops (3-1) into a three -way tie for first place in the Southern Division with the Boise Hawks and Eugene Emeralds. The win brought the Everett Aquasox (1-3) into a three-way tie for second place with the Spokane Indians and Vancouver Canadians. The Tri-City Dust Devils (2-2) lead the Northern Division by one game.
Both teams will return to Everett Memorial Stadium for the final game of the opening five-game series with the Hops leading 3-1. Ivan Fortunato will start for the Aquasox. The Hops starter is yet to be determined.
Hops notes: Hillsboro was joined in Everett by their 35th round draft choice out of this year’s draft. Alex King is out of St. Louis University. He was a four-year starter for the Billikens at shortstop. Known as a power hitter, Alex led not only his own team for 2018 but the entire Atlantic 10 with 15 home runs.
Alex started for the Hops at short, going 1-3. His single was the first hit of the night for the Hops. He is 22 years old.