With six games remaining in the Northwest League regular season schedule, the Tri-City Dust Devils need a lot of help to earn a spot in the North Division playoffs.
They didn’t help themselves much Monday at Gesa Stadium, losing 4-0 and 7-1 in 12 innings to the first-place Everett AquaSox in a NWL doubleheader.
But there is still a way Tri-City could find itself in the postseason, if Everett is kind enough to cooperate.
The Dust Devils need to sweep their next six games against the Vancouver Canadians starting Wednesday at Nat Bailey Stadium in British Columbia. If Tri-City can win all six, Everett still would need to sweep six games against Spokane to keep the Indians from claiming the North's second playoff spot.
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It's a slim chance, but it's a chance nonetheless.
"I hope there's a chance, and hopefully we can win out our next six games," said Ryan Warner, who started Game 2 for Tri-City.
Game 1 was over almost as soon as it started, as the AquaSox loaded the bases with two outs in the first against Dust Devils starter Johendi Jiminian. Carlton Tanabe, a fifth-year catcher, then laced a 1-0 fastball over the head of center fielder Julian Yan, clearing the bases for a 3-0 lead.
Austin Wilson led off the top of the sixth with a triple to the wall in right center and then scored on a double to left by Kyle Petty, making it 4-0 Everett.
Jiminian (3-4) took the loss, while Nate Koneski (2-1) got the win with five scoreless innings.
The AquaSox again scored quickly in Game 2, as Jack Reinheimer hit a one-out double in the first, stole third and came home on Chantz Mack’s sacrifice fly to give Everett a 1-0 lead.
Tri-City tied it up in the bottom of the third when Patrick Hutcheson singled, went to third on a Julian Yan single and scored on a sacrifice fly by Alex San Juan.
Warner looked strong over seven innings in his 14th start of the year, allowing just one run on four hits while striking out seven.
"I felt really good today. With the rain delay yesterday, I had an extra day of rest," Warner said.
Warner, a NWL All-Star, didn't show any frustration despite not getting much run support from his team, which generated just one run over 19 innings on the day.
"Sometimes that happens. They're trying to get runs across. Some guys are pretty frustrated," Warner said. "All you can do is keep swinging the bats."
Dwyer made the defensive play of the day with one out in the top of the eighth and the bases loaded with the score tied at 1. Dwyer drifted carefully into foul territory and reached over the railing in Dusty’s Bullpen to catch flyball from Wilson, the Seattle Mariners’ second-round draft pick out of Stanford.
Jerad McCrummen, who came in to relieve Ryan Warner in the eighth inning, still had some work to do with the bases loaded. But McCrummen, a 23rd-round draft pick out of Texas Tech, bore down and got Kyle Seager to swing through a high fastball for strike three, ending the inning.
"I was excited, but I like to be even keel out there," McCrummen said. "I knew I had the bases loaded and one out, and a sacrifice fly would score a run. I was fortunate to get the infield fly. That was a great play by Sean Dwyer."
The Dust Devils had a chance to win it in the bottom of the eighth. Kyle Von Tungeln hit a hustle-all-the-way double to right to lead off the frame and took third on a sacrifice bunt by Patrick Valaika.
Mike Tauchman then lined a 1-0 pitch from Emilio Pagan back up the middle. That ball usually gets through for a base hit, but Pagan showed some quick reflexes, getting his hand up to glove it and make the play to first and hold Von Tungeln.
Sean Dwyer then flied out to third base to end the inning.
The teams battled into the 12th inning, and that's when Everett hammered reliever Shawn Stuart for six runs on six hits in just 1/3 of an inning.
Stuart, a native of Turlock, Calif., walked in two runs with the bases loaded, gave up RBI singles to Carlton Tanabe and Bryan Brito, and allowed a two-run double to Reggie Lawson before being replaced by Marc Magliaro.
Tanabe had four RBIs on the day.
Notes: Wednesday’s starters will be Tri-City RHP Konner Wade (2-7, 4.42 ERA) up against Vancouver RHP Jeremy Gabryszwski (5-2, 2.66 ERA). After losing his first seven decisions, Wade has won his last two starts. ... After a 4-0 loss in Game 1, the Dust Devils changed up their uniform tops, switching out the dark blue tops — the ones they typically use for batting practice — for their home whites. ... After 35 years as Everett’s trainer Marion “Spyder” Webb is retiring after this season. Webb, 60, is the longest-standing member of the Seattle Mariners’ field staff and has worked with Mariners’ favorites such as Ken Griffey Jr., Edgar Martinez and Omar Vizquel when they came through the NWL. ... Dust Devils alumni update: SS Tim Smalling (2012) went 3-for-5 with a pair of doubles and two RBIs in the Tulsa Drillers’ 8-4 Texas League home win over Springfield (Mo.). ... OF Charlie Blackmon (2008) belted his fourth home run of the year, and Juan Nicasio (2008) tossed six scoreless innings to get the win as the Colorado Rockies beat visiting San Francisco 6-1.