Go, Aquasox!

I’m stealing Tyler’s press release and posting it here because this is pretty awesome. If I can’t get Mariners playoffs, I’ll settle for short season Single A playoffs. Either way, playoffs! These guys have really battled in their division this year – and not the same sort of “battle” that Don Wakamatsu means when he’s referring to the Mariners one-run-in-extra-innings win over the Angels on Sunday. If the two games I’ve been to this season have been any indication, just by looking at them alone the Sox are playing much better ball than they were in 2009; but the wins speak for themselves. It just makes me all the more excited for Root Beer Float day this Sunday, and the next  time I get to go to the press box, which is later in August. Well, played, Mariners Junior!

Anyway, Tyler says:

EVERETT, Wash. – AquaSox nation held its collective breath Monday night as Steven Baron’s bat shattering dribbler down the third base line passed Kevin Rivers racing toward home. That held breath soon erupted into cheers, as the AquaSox scored the winning run in the bottom of the tenth inning to win the first-half Northwest League West division and secure a spot in the postseason.

With the win, the AquaSox earn a spot in the NWL playoffs for the first time since 2002. The Sox will take on the second-half Western division winner in the best-of-three divisional round beginning Sept. 6. Should they advance, the Sox would play the Eastern divisional winner in a three-game Championship Series beginning Sept. 10.

The AquaSox (22-9) clinched playoff spot with a 4-3 extra-inning defeat of the Eugene Emeralds (13-18) Monday night at Everett Memorial Stadium. Austin Hudson (3-1, 3.18 ERA) picked up the win with a scoreless tenth inning, while reliever Matt Irsfeld (0-2, 5.06 ERA) was the loser for the Ems.

Frogs starter Edlando Seco proved un-hittable through the first three innings, dominating the Ems with six strikeouts early on until running into trouble in the fourth. After Eugene catcher Rocky Gale connected for the first hit with a leadoff single and moved to second on a wild pitch, Dwight Britton had a ball bounce off his glove in center, allowing Gale to score and putting Jedd Gyorko on second.

Rymer Liriano followed with a run-scoring double, then stole third base to put himself in scoring position with nobody out. After another strikeout by Seco, a sacrifice fly off the bat of Wes Cunningham gave the Emeralds a 3-0 lead in the fourth inning.

Anthony Phillips broke a 0-14 slump with a solo home run onto Home Run Hill with one out in the fifth, putting the Sox on the board 3-1.

The AquaSox bats went silent for a period after the fifth inning, getting set down in order for three innings until the eighth; when the momentum would abruptly shift with one swing of the bat.

Kevin Rivers walked with one out in the frame, followed by a Kevin Mailloux strikeout that left many feeling it would be another dreary inning for the Frogs hitters. That’s when Mickey Wiswall delivered with his fourth home run of the year, a two-run shot into the parking lot in right that tied the game at 3-3 and gave the Sox new life.

The game would remain tied at 3-3 through nine innings and into the bottom of the tenth, when Rivers started another rally by drawing a walk.

Mailloux followed-up with a sharp single to left after failing to get down the sacrifice bunt, putting runners on first and third with nobody out. Mickey Wiswall was intentionally walked to load the bases, but pinch-hitter Evan Sharpley was unable to bring the runner home after he struck out swinging.

With one-out and the winning run 90-feet away, it was up to Baron, who made contact on a broken-bat grounder to third that scored Rivers from third and set off the first-half division-winning celebration.

Wiswall and Phillips led the offensive attack for the Sox, with each player recording two hits and a home run.

Ogui Diaz and Jonathan Arias were solid out of the Sox pen, throwing two scoreless innings apiece. Seco ended up with a no-decision in five innings pitched, allowing three runs – one earned- off three hits while striking out nine.

The Frogs go for the sweep Tuesday afternoon as Yoervis Medina (1-2, 3.68 ERA) takes the ball against right-hander Matthew Lollis (2-2, 2.86 ERA).

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