Arrow-right Camera

Color Scheme

Subscribe now
Spokane Indians

Wind wreaks havoc in late innings, Spokane Indians fall to Everett 5-3 in series finale

The swirling winds at Avista Stadium on Sunday had as much to do with the outcome as any hitter, pitcher or fielder. Not that any player or coach would use that as an excuse, but it didn’t make it any less true.

Everett rallied for three runs run the seventh inning with three extra base hits – all hard-hit but also all wind-aided – and the AquaSox managed a split of the six-game Northwest League series, topping the Spokane Indians 5-3 at Avista Stadium.

Braiden Ward went 2 for 4 with a double, triple, run and RBI for the Indians (11-4).

“Tough loss, fairly close ballgame,” Indians manager Robinson Cancel said. “We battled to the end and we had a chance to win the eighth. We just didn’t get ahead, but I thought our guys played hard and that’s all we can ask for.”

Tied at 2-2 after six innings, reliever Davison Palermo came on for Indians starter Victor Juarez in the seventh. He got two quick outs, but some hard contact and a robust breeze blowing from right to left played havoc on the Indians defensive efforts.

Victor Labrada hit a fly to center that carried over Ward’s head for a triple, then Hunter Fitz-Gerald hit a double to the left center gap that tailed away from Ward and was fumbled by left fielder Juan Guerrero for an error to drive in Labrada.

Alex Sanchez followed with a blast off the base of the wall in center for another triple, then Blake Rodden added an RBI single, and Everett (4-11) led 5-2 at the stretch.

“I personally play everyone a little (shallow) but today was one of those days the wind, it was just carrying everything – pushing and carrying – it was the perfect storm,” Ward said. “They hit one I was like, ‘Oh well.’ They hit two, I was like, “That’s strange.” And then after the third one I told the rest of the boys I was playing (toward the gap) the rest of game.”

In the bottom half, Ward benefitted from the breeze with a long fly to center that carried to the base of the wall. Center fielder Jared Sundstrom tumbled trying to retrieve it and it went as a triple. Ward then scored on a sacrifice fly by leadoff hitter Cole Carrigg.

“He’s kind of sparkplug, turning the lineup over,” Cancel said of Ward. “He’s done a good job so far.”

Spokane put two on with no outs in the eighth when Kyle Karros reached on an error and Robby Martin Jr’s soft liner fell in short center. Both runners moved up on a sacrifice bunt by No. 5 hitter Bryant Bentacourt, but Juan Guerrero and Jesus Ordonez both grounded to third to end the budding rally.

“We tried to tie the game first before we got the lead,” Cancel said. “(Betancourt) did his job, and we’ve got nine guys to do their job, so it didn’t happen today. If I had to bunt it again, I would bunt it again.”

The Indians went quietly in the ninth against Troy Taylor, who picked up his second save of the season.

Indians starter Victor Juarez turned in six solid innings. He allowed two earned runs on four hits and two walks with two strikeouts. Both runs came via solo homers. He threw 75 pitches, 50 for strikes.

“(Juarez) did a great job,” Cancel said. “A couple of pitches level left over the plate for solo home runs, but he pitched the ball well.”

Juarez gave up a long solo home run with one down in the first to Everett outfielder Bill Knight, his second of the campaign, but he bounced back to limit the damage.

The Indians tied it up in the bottom half. Carrigg reached on an error, stole second, moved up on an infield single and scored on a fielder’s choice.

It stayed that way until the fourth inning, when AquaSox third baseman Ben Williamson curled a liner around the left field foul pole for a solo homer, his first of the season.

Again, the Indians answered right back. With two down in the bottom half, Jean Perez was hit to put runners and first and second, then Ward followed with a liner into the right field corner for an RBI double to tie it.

“I’m in the No. 9 spot, but it’s not because I’m in a ‘9’ hitter – I’m a second leadoff,” Ward said. Cole (Carrigg) is a great leadoff hitter. (Dyan) Jorge is a great No. 2. He’s ready to roll. I’m there to flip the lineup over – get on, get on second, get on third and have those guys hit me in, they’re some of the best ball players we’ve got. You know that’s a recipe for success.”

The Indians start a six-game series at Vancouver on Tuesday at 7:05 p.m.