Hot AquaSox Chasing Division-Leaders

EVERETT, Wash.- With just under a month left in the season, the Everett AquaSox are riding their hottest streak of the year and threatening to take over the top spot in the Northwest League's West Division.

The Sox have won 13 of their last 15 games and are currently in third place, four games back of the division-leading Vancouver Canadians. The team's divisional standing gives no credence, however, to an absolutely phenomenal turnaround following a rollercoaster month in July.

The month seemed destined to be a wild one from the start. After being swept by ancouver, Everett picked up consecutive series wins over Boise (4-5) and Salem-Keizer (2-1). Their second effort against the Canadians yielded only slightly better results than the first, as the Frogs lost the series, 2-1.

Then, the losses really started to mount.

July 19th saw the beginning of a six-game losing streak for Everett, their longest of the year so far. After losing two to Spokane in their series finale, the Sox were swept in Salem by the Volcanoes before suffering one more indignity to Eugene and falling to a decisive last place in the NWL West, nine games back of Vancouver.

The drought ended on July 25th with a 5-3 win over the Emeralds, and the Sox have been cruising ever since. Their only two losses (Tri-Cities on July 29th and Yakima on August 5th) have been separated by five-game win streaks and another is currently in the works - the Frogs took two in a row this weekend.

With 30 games remaining in the season, the AquaSox still have time to make or break their year. Vancouver and Salem-Keizer have proven worthy opponents so far and will not be easy to catch as the season draws to its conclusion. The team seems to be riding high at the moment, however, and it appears as if just about every facet of Everett's roster is feeding off the recent success.

Out With the Old, In With the New:
The on-field dramatics have not been the only newsworthy story in the last couple weeks for Everett. The AquaSox clubhouse has undergone some changes, welcoming some new faces and parting with some old favorites.

Due to a rather odd and obscure rule imposed by the Northwest League, the AquaSox were forced to part ways with pitchers Oliver Arias and Adam Brandt. The rule stipulates that a team can only have so many players of a certain age on their roster at a given time. Arias was sent to the Inland Empire 66ers while Brandt has taken up residence with the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers.

Everett wasn't left empty-handed, however, as they acquired reliever Roman Martinez from Wisconsin and promoted the newly-signed Stephen Kahn from the Peoria Mariners.

The Wrath of Kahn:
Speaking of Stephen Kahn, he's been the talk of the town since joining the Frogs on July 29. In his six appearances with the team so far, Kahn has logged five innings of work and recorded just as many saves.

Kahn was taken in the fifth round of the 2005 draft by the Mariners and didn't sign until just recently due to lengthy contract negotiations.

"It was all about finding something that me, my family, and the Mariners could agree on," said Kahn. "Eventually, though, I just got sick of waiting and wanted to come out and play."

While his performance so far certainly appears deserving of a promotion, it is unlikely Kahn will see action outside the Northwest League this year. Before being drafted, he had already pitched a full season at Loyola Marymount. The M's are loathe to overwork him, given his obvious talents, and had initially drafted him as a starter anyway.

He seems content to stay where he is at the moment, in any case, stating that he's meshed well with the rest of the staff and is comfortable in whatever role the M's choose to put him in.

Ace Material:
Starting pitcher Nick Allen became the first five-game winner in the Northwest League last Thursday in a 2-1 AquaSox victory over the Yakima Bears. The win brings Allen to 5-2 on the season. He continues to be the workhorse of the pitching staff, as well, logging more innings (47.2) than anyone else on the team.

The staff ace is slated to take the hill once again this Tuesday in Everett to close out a three-game homestand against the Eugene Emeralds.

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