Collin Wiles has no doubt that the Spokane Indians’ offense will surface soon.
Tim Hulett agreed, saying it’s just a matter of time before the Indians get the big two-out hit or the fortunate break created by aggressive base running.
But for now, the Indians are 0-3 for the young Northwest League season, setting a pattern of falling behind early and coming up short with late-inning rallies.
Brazilian Thyago Vieira threw five innings of three-hit shutout ball and Phillips Castillo had a two-run double off Wiles on Sunday afternoon as the Everett AquaSox completed a three-game sweep at Avista Stadium with a 4-3 decision.
Everett outscored Spokane 16-11 during the series, scoring all but three of its runs during the first five innings. The AquaSox led 5-0 on Friday, 6-0 on Saturday and 3-0 on Sunday.
“It’s 0-3, there’s no way around it, but the guys are playing hard,” Indians manager Hulett said.
“I’m more on the positive side. The guys are playing hard and we’re giving it a good effort every day. You keep doing that and good things are going to happen.”
Wiles, a first-round selection last year out of Blue Valley West (Kan.) High, allowed five hits and three earned runs over 5 1/3 innings in his Indians debut. Even Castillo’s key double didn’t seem to disturb him.
“I didn’t feel like I made that bad a pitch, but obviously that curveball that (Castillo) got around on for a double down the line that scored two runs in the fourth inning, that was a good hit,” Wiles said. “I had him out front and did everything I wanted to do, but it just got through. There’s nothing you can do about that.”
Spokane’s offense continued to sputter. The lineup Hulett started was 6 for 39 (.154) through two games. After Sunday’s contest, the Indians as a whole are hitting 13 for 87 (.149).
Wiles said those numbers don’t reflect the hitters he knows.
“It’s going to come,” the 19-year-old said. “If you watch our hitters every day take batting practice, you know they can hit from top to bottom.
“I look at it from a pitching standpoint. You just keep it as close as you can and hope the offense comes through.”
Wiles’ biggest mistakes were to walk Alfredo Morales leading off the fourth and sixth. In both instances, Martin Peguero followed with a single. Castillo’s double scored both for a 2-0 lead in the fourth; Reggie Lawson’s RBI groundout in the sixth scored Morales for a 3-0 edge.
Chris Garia’s leadoff double ignited the Indians’ two-run sixth, aided by two Everett errors. The teams traded runs in the seventh, with James Zamarripa’s RBI single for Everett and Hirotoshi Onaka’s sacrifice fly for Spokane.
The Indians stranded Garia at third in the ninth. He singled to center with one out and moved up two bases when first baseman Lawson threw wildly to second on a pickoff attempt.
The Indians’ first road trip of the season begins tonight at Vancouver, British Columbia. Spokane returns home Thursday to begin an eight-game homestand. … Right-hander David Ledbetter, a third-round selection out of Cedarville (Ohio) University, will start for Spokane tonight in his pro debut.
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