Receiving just one run of support in the first two games of a three-game series with the Everett Aquasox, it might have taken a heroic effort from an unfamiliar starter to salvage the series.
William Scott played that role and stole the show.
In just his second start of the year, Scott matched another strong performance from an Everett starter—this time it was Stephen Landazuri, who pitched into the seventh inning.
Both starters posted zeros before a Lee Orr home run in the fifth inning, for the first run of the game, allowed Scott to exhale.
A seven-run, seventh inning from the Ems (35-25) made this game look like anything but a heart-stopper. However, both teams combined for three hits through six innings.
Led by Scott’s performance, the 8-3 Eugene victory on Wednesday at PK Park allowed the Emeralds to move within three games of the first-place Aquasox (30-30) with just 16 games left in the season.
Scott, 20, was a 32nd round pick by the Padres in 2010. After not signing until August of that year, Scott was limited to just three appearances in the Arizona League.
He has spent much of the year as a reliever, but a string of impressive outings might be leading to more regular appearances as a starter.
“Our brass was here tonight, and I think they were looking at it going, ‘whoa, that’s pretty good for a kid,’” manager Pat Murphy said. “Hopefully he gets another opportunity. I would think he would.”
He struck out six and allowed just one base runner, which came on the lone hit by Everett during Scott’s six strong innings.
“Just keep throwing strikes, pound the zone, make these guys beat me,” Scott said. “All night I stayed in the zone and I just trusted my defense.”
Clinging to just a one-run lead in the sixth inning, a deep drive by Aquasox shortstop Jetsy Extrano looked like it could be fatal. After seeing the ball run out of gas at the warning track for the third out, Scott walked towards the dugout with a devilish grin.
“In my mind I literally said, ‘God, I will quit doing stuff wrong if you just keep this ball in the park,’” Scott said, “And it stayed in the park and just smiled and said, ‘thank you.’”
The way the offense has been dragging its feet, Orr’s eighth home run of the year was likely to be the Ems lone run.
But the Ems are hoping that Orr’s recent offensive surge could become contagious.
After struggling through most of August, Orr’s homer made it his fourth in six games—and he has driven in 10 runs in his last 10 games.
A single in the seventh innings—capping off a 2-for-4 game—helped spark the Ems seven-run rally.
“I changed pretty much my whole stance, everything,” Orr said. “Just trying to get real simple. I’m hitting completely different than I ever have and I’ve had some success with it.
“Just being simple trying to stay short, not trying to hit a home run. Just make solid contact, that’s the goal. Just make solid contact and the hits and everything will come.”
The Emeralds sent 12 batters to the plate in a seventh inning that featured six hits—all singles.
But for Murphy, a walk from Donavan Tate to load the bases in that inning best exemplified his team’s performance at the plate.
“Tate for instance: Tate’s big first and second walk,” Murphy said. “Here’s a guy that’s been struggling as of late and could be greedy, and he takes that walk. It’s the key to the game. It really is.
“I’m proud of them, and that’s how you play team offense. And it was a team offensive effort, so it’s exciting.”