It's the first day of summer, so it's a perfect time for the Dust Devils' only day game of the year. Not a cloud in the sky and the field temperature is somewhere between the high 70s and low 80s. Still plenty of room if you can take an extended lunch. Nothing like a little afternoon baseball.
On the mound, it's RHP Nelson Gonzalez going for Tri-City and LHP Bennett Whitmore for Everett.
Series tied at 2 games apiece, so this one will decide the first Northwest League series of the year for both teams.
Last night was particularly exciting, with the Dust Devils recording a season best eight runs on 16 hits. Seven of those runs came with two outs, which made Tri-City manager Fred Ocasio very happy.
One thing that hasn't made Ocasio very happy in the past is the Dust Devils' play during day games. He told me the other day he doesn't believe they've won an afternoon contest since the team began playing them in 2007.
Tri-City puts up the first run, as Jeff Squier blasts a two-out triple to the right center field wall and then scores on a 55-foot curveball from Whitmore that bounced over catcher Larry Gonzalez for a 1-0 Dust Devils lead.
Everett gets a run back, getting a leadoff double from Rudy van Heydoorn in the second. He advanced to third on a long fly to center by Jarrett Burgess and then scored on a single by Mario Yepez against a drawn-in infield.
We're tied at 1 after 2 innings.
I'm looking at the Northwest League team batting and I see that the Dust Devils went from hitting .206 as a team yesterday to .261 today.
But today Gesa Stadium has tended back toward's its former tendencies of being a pitchers park. So far the teams have combined for five hits through the first four innings.
But just as I write that, Burgess smashes a double to the wall in left, scoring van Heydoorn from second for a 2-1 Everett lead.
And yes it's still early folks, but Tri-City has a couple statistical leaders in the NWL. Dust Devils catcher Ryan Casteel is third in the league after three games with a .500 average. He's also fourth in the league with five RBIs. Left-handed reliever Craig Bennigson is tied with 10 other NWL pitchers (minimum 4 innings pitched) with an ERA of 0.00.
Everett takes advantage of another Tri-City error. James Wood led off the inning for the AquaSox with an infield single, but Jeff Squier threw well wide of first when he probably should have just held on to it. The next batter, van Heydoorn, lined an RBI double down the left field line to tie the score at 3.
Sixth lead change in the game now, as Tri-City takes the lead back at 4-3. Casteel singled to right to lead off the inning, took second on a sacrifice bunt by Jeff Squier and then scored on a single to center by David Hernandez.
A good back and forth by both teams. I'm betting we'll se at least another run over the final two innings. The question is, who's going to score them?
No more runs but the Dust Devils hold on for the 4-3 win. Isaiah Froneberger comes on in the ninth to retire the side. He had to do a little extra work, throwing 17 pitches to close it out, but he got the result.
Tri-City wins its first series of the year. A good start for what looks like a pretty good team.