Indians’ lead vanishes quickly
Everett exploits sloppy defense for win
By the end of the Spokane Indians’ latest loss, a 4-1 lead was a distant memory.
It was a combination of a Spokane implosion and Everett, the Northwest League’s top-hitting club, doing little wrong.
The AquaSox scored 10 runs on nine hits in the middle innings and took advantage of shoddy Spokane defense for a 16-10 victory Monday before 3,319 at Avista Stadium.
Spokane wasted a nice start.
Washington State University standout Jared Prince hit his third homer in four games to give the Indians a 2-1 lead in the first inning. Single runs in the third and fourth innings stretched the Indians’ lead to 4-1.
“If you’d told me we were going to get 15 hits and score 10 runs I’d felt pretty good about it before the game,” Spokane manager Tim Hulett said.
The next three innings were hideous for Spokane. Granted, the AquaSox did most of the damage with their bats, but it would have been softened a touch had the Indians’ defense not collapsed. Spokane’s left side of the infield had four errors in the middle stretch.
Everett’s comeback began with two outs in the fifth. Ben Billingsley and Jose Rivero got back-to-back singles before Mario Martinez lifted a 2-1 fastball from Braden Tullis over the left-field fence to tie the score at 4-4.
Spokane regained the lead briefly at 5-4 when Jason Ogata hit a homer.
In the sixth, Everett used four hits coupled with two Spokane errors to jump ahead 8-5, the big hit coming on a two-run double by Blake Trinkler.
The Indians pulled within 8-6 moments later on a Clark Murphy homer.
Everett picked up with its offensive barrage in the seventh with three more runs. Trinkler knocked in two more with a triple.
Things got out of control in the eighth when the AquaSox batted around for the second time. Everett added five more runs on four hits.
Spokane reliever Justin Miller surrendered back-to-back bases-load walks before Billingsley got a two-run single and Rivero plated another run with a broken bat infield hit.
Everett’s biggest lead came at 16-6.
“Our defense kind of let us down; we’d played pretty good defense all year long,” Hulett said. “It’s been pitching and defense. We struggled at both tonight.”
Hulett was satisfied that his team didn’t quit.
“It’s easy to cash in, but guys we’re going up there and putting some quality at-bats together,” Hulett said.
“You give a good team that big a cushion it’s tough to come back.”
The teams meet tonight in the fourth of their five-game series with an afternoon game to wrap things up Wednesday.