While the Tri-City Dust Devils offense continued one of its best starts in team history, the Tri-City pitching staff had something to prove Thursday night.
The Dust Devils hurlers came into the game with the highest ERA in the Northwest League at 7.06 and had allowed a league-high 62 hits through the season’s first six games.
However, by holding the Everett AquaSox to just one run for the second consecutive night in a 2-1 win at Gesa Stadium, the Dust Devils hurlers proved that they aren’t going to be pushed around anymore.
“The last two games, especially, we’re just getting back to our bread and butter, which is attacking the zone and letting our defense do the work,” Tri-City closer Scott Firth said after earning his second save of the year.
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Grahamm Wiest and Dylan Thompson both made their professional debut for the Dust Devils (3-4), and both made a solid impression. Wiest got the start and made one mistake — a solo home run by Phillips Castillo to lead off the second to put Everett up 1-0. But he kept his composure despite scattering seven hits over four innings.
“I thought Wiest battled despite having some traffic on the bases. That says a lot about his ability to settle in,” Firth said of the Colorado Rockies’ 14th-round draft pick out of Cal State-Fullerton.
Thompson, a 31st-rounder out of UNC-Greensboro, followed him up with three scoreless innings to earn his first professional win.
“I’ve been waiting for this for a long time. It’s very humbling to get the opportunity,” Thompson said.
The Dust Devils didn’t allow a walk in nine innings.
With Tri-City trailing 1-0, Marcos Derkes singled to lead off the fourth inning, stole second and took third on a sacrifice fly by Drew Weeks. Sam Bumpers then drove Derkes home with an RBI grounder to second, tying the score at 1.
Bumpers, a 22nd-round draft pick out of Lamar University, sliced a double down the right field line to lead off the seventh and came home on a double to the wall by David Bergin, putting Tri-City up 2-1.
Blake Holovach (0-1) took the loss for Everett (1-6), allowing two runs on six hits over seven innings.
Dust Devils right fielder Richard Prigatano, an 11th-round pick out of Long Beach State, is still looking for his first pro hit after going 0-for-3. But he made the defensive play of the game to end the sixth inning. First, he hustled to glove Kristian Brito’s sinking liner in right for the second out, then pegged Castillo with a rifle throw to third base to end the inning.
Notes: Dust Devils manager Drew Saylor was honored before the game by the Greater Akron Ohio Baseball Hall of Fame, which inducted him in the 2014 class. Saylor, a former NCAA All-American second baseman at Kent State, was the first player to be named Medina County (Ohio) Player of the Year twice. ... The Dust Devils and AquaSox will resume their series today, as RHP Blake Shouse (0-1, 54.00 ERA) will get the start for Tri-City, and RHP Ramire Cleto (0-1, 4.76 ERA) will go for Everett.
w Jack Millikin; 582-1406; email@example.com