Although the 2021 season is the AquaSox first season at the class High-A rank, manager Louis Boyd says it wouldn’t be possible without a great team dynamic.
“I feel really great about the team,” Boyd said. “Really strong group of guys – high character, high energy, and everybody takes a lot of pride in their preparation…I’m really happy to have the staff around me that I do and I feel very lucky to have the players in the club house as well.”
The team has dominated their strike-outs and walks which is what they strive to focus on and control, according to Boyd who said “with the group that we have, I’ll never feel anything but confident” about their home opener.
Dominican Republic-born Julio Yarnel Rodriguez remains a star player for the AquaSox with a DSL Mid-season All Star, and a Baseball America DSL All Star title under his belt, but according to Boyd the entire lineup can be considered rising stars.
“Our pitching staff is stacked, top prospects everywhere, and even guys you wouldn’t know about. Essentially top-to-bottom, even guys that don’t get in the lineup can affect the ballgame every day. Truly every guy in the box have been impressive in Spring Training and early in the season. It’s a really good problem to have as a manager,” Boyd said.
The AquaSox 2020 season was cancelled due to the C OVID outbreak, causing a halt to not only games – but practices where the players were back in their homes. Despite not being allowed to practice or play, the team entered Spring Training in great shape with no injuries going into the season opener.
“I think it really showed who took pride in their work. Who’s willing to grind away when no one is watching, to put the work in the weight room, and get their swing feeling good or their delivery on the mound feeling good,” Boyd said.
Player’s health and safety are paramount. Masks must be worn, staggered arrivals, restricted lift times, and encourage vaccinations.
“It’s stuff that we have to deal with. We don’t mind the rules because it allows us to play the game of baseball we all love,” Boyd told the Lynnwood Times.
In the past ten years the AquaSox have seen six post-season appearances but there will not be a postseason held this year which, according to Boyd, “works in [their] favor.”
“We like to focus on winning each pitch, winning the ‘controllables’, and not worrying about the results. Our guys have been doing a really good job controlling what they’ve been able to control and focusing on the right thing at the right time, and our guys are gonna continue to do that throughout the year,” Boyd said.
The AquaSox were defeated 4-1 by the Hillsboro Hops in their season home opener, registering four hits including a double by infielder Austen Shenton in the top of the sixth. On the mound, starter Matt Brash pitched for three innings allowing three runs with six strikeouts. Brash will be starting pitcher against the Tri-City Dust Devils this Tuesday.
In the second game of their six-game series against the Hops, the AquaSox came back winning 3-2 in extra innings when Shenton took advantage of a passed ball to take home and win the game in the top of the 11th.
The AquaSox crushed the Hops in its third game held last night, 12-1, taking a 2-1 lead in the six-game series. Game four will be played today, Friday, May 7, at 6:35 p.m.
The AquaSox square off against the Dust Devils on Tuesday, May 11, at 7:05 p.m. For tickets, radio broadcast, or additional information visit https://www.milb.com/everett.
Featured photo by Sarah Newgarde, Marketing and Social Media Manager at Everett AquaSox.