Charles homers as Canadians clinch

Vancouver sweeps Everett, books place in NWL championship

By Ashley Marshall / Special to | September 4, 2012 11:32 PM ET

The short-season Vancouver Canadians may not have been flawless, but they picked a perfect time to put everything together.

Now that combination of strong pitching, productive hitting and timely defense will see them advance to the Finals for a chance to repeat as Northwest League champions.

Cleanup hitter Art Charles slugged a three-run homer, starting pitcher Taylor Cole allowed an unearned run over six innings and the defense turned a series of big plays in the field in the Canadians' 7-4 win over the Everett AquaSox on Tuesday.

The victory gave the Toronto affiliate a 2-0 series sweep of the best-of-3 semifinals.

It also provides the team an extra day of rest before their showdown with the Yakima Bears or Boise Hawks, who will play Game 3 on Wednesday in the other division series, for the Northwest League crown.

On Tuesday, the Canadians got off to the perfect start. Kellen Sweeney drew a one-out walk in the first inning, following batter Balbino Fuenmayor singled to left field and 21-year-old designated hitter Charles cleared the scoreboard in right-center field to give the visitors a lead they would never relinquish.

Vancouver added two more runs in the second and tacked on another pair in the seventh in response to Janelfry Zorrilla RBI single in the fourth frame, which had cut the lead to 5-1.

Everett closed the gap on Michael Faulkner's two-run, two-out triple in the seventh, but the Canadians held on to secure the sweep.

Charles, selected by the Blue Jays in the 20th round of the 2010 Draft out of Bakersfield Junior College, was backed by strong performances from his teammates in all areas of the field.

No. 9 hitter Jorge Flores was 3-for-4 with two doubles, two runs scored and an RBI, and catcher Tucker Frawley -- who bats before him in the lineup -- reached base safely three times and scored twice. In total, the Canadians drew eight walks from Everett pitchers.

On defense, center fielder Ian Parmley doubled off Marcus Littlewood from second base, Dwight Smith nailed Herbert trying to stretch a single to left field into a double and second baseman Lopes started a 4-6-3 double play in the triumph.

The Canadians will host Game 1 of the Finals on Thursday.

In other Northwest League action:

Boise 11, Yakima 5

Right fielder Stephen Bruno went 3-for-5 with an RBI double and Jeimer Candelario broke a 4-4 tie with a two-run triple in the ninth inning as Boise rallied to beat Yakima to keep its season alive.

The Hawks trailed, 4-3, going into the eighth inning of their must-win Game 2 in the Northwest League semifinal. But Albert Almora -- who finished a homer shy of the cycle -- legged out a two-out three-bagger and scored the tying run on Will Locante's wild pitch. The Hawks ensured there would be a decisive Game 3, plating seven runs and sending 12 men to bat in the ninth.

Yakima shortstop Kevin Modrano went 3-for-4 with two RBIs, and his double-play partner Josh Parr collected three more hits in the losing effort. Box score

Ashley Marshall is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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