Felix Hernandez accomplished one of the rarest feats in all of sports on Wednesday and began to trend worldwide, and it occurred to Everett AquaSox broadcaster Pat Dillon that Seattle’s ace threw his first professional baseball pitch in Spokane nine years ago.
As Hernandez approached perfection in the win over Tampa Bay, some of the AquaSox – Seattle’s short-season Class A affiliate – listened to or watched and tried to absorb some of the magic en route to Avista Stadium for a game of their own.
Though they were far from perfect – especially from the mound and on defense – the AquaSox managed to come up with their fourth win in five nights over Spokane, beating the Indians 8-3 in Northwest League action in front of 3,662 fans at Avista.
“I didn’t get to see the last two innings, but obviously something really special happened today and it’s really cool that it was our pro club,” said former Washington State Cougar Taylor Ard, who finished 2 for 4 at the plate with a pair of RBIs and a run.
“I had a great time playing in Spokane,” he added. “It’s kind of a home away from home.”
The Indians (21-39 overall, 9-13 second half), second in the East Division standings and five games back of Boise with 16 games remaining, came close to tying the AquaSox (38-22, 10-12) at 3 in the fourth inning. But Patrick Cantwell got caught in a rundown between third and home and was tagged for the final out.
The AquaSox wasted no time pulling away in the fifth, as catcher Marcus Littlewood crushed a three-run home run to right field to give Everett a 6-2 lead – which they added to with a pair of runs in the sixth.
“We battled back and got close, but then the pitching went south on us,” Indians manager Tim Hulett said. “Of course, the three-run homer sealed it for them.”
The Indians open a three-game series at Yakima tonight before they return to Spokane for their final homestand of the season – a three-game set with Tri-City followed by five games against Salem-Keizer.
Spokane closes out the regular season with a five-game series at Eugene from Aug. 27-31.
Clearing the bases
Spokane was 1-4 in the series and 2-8 overall against Everett this season. … Indians outfielder and Gonzaga product Royce Bolinger extended his hitting streak to 16 games. He was 3 for 4. Gabriel Roa had two RBIs and Chris Garia added one.