For the third time in Bellingham’s homestand, the Bells needed more than nine innings to crown a victor.
Jordan Stoner seized his opportunity and stole home on a wild pitch with one out in the bottom of the 12th, to win the game 3-2.
The inning started off with Stoner walking on five pitches. Ernie Yake was just looking to move Stoner into scoring position but ended up reaching first on a fielding error by Corvallis pitcher Louis Crow.
Zach Needham then put the sacrifice into play to place the speedy Stoner just 90 feet away from scoring the game winning run. On a 1-2 count, Crow threw one in the dirt that bounced all the way to the backstop and Stoner bolted for home, sliding his hand into home plate for the 3-2 victory.
“Being at third there in a 1-2 count, I was looking for an off-speed. He got an off-speed and I saw that it was down, and I got a pretty good jump on it,” Stoner said. “Once I saw it kick off, I figured ‘I better roll my dice and let’s go for it.”
The walk off victory was Bellingham’s first since taking home a 2-1 victory against Corvallis on June 7th.
The Bells (19-10) were hitting the ball well on Friday night, in front of a crowd of over 1,000, but they couldn’t seem to string enough of them together to put the game away until the Knights unraveled in the bottom of the 12th inning.
In the top of the tenth inning, the Bells had a golden opportunity to send Bells fans home on a winning note but couldn’t quite fight the late-inning mojo with the bases loaded and two outs.
Small ball played part in both of the game’s first runs. For the Bells, a one-out walk to the speedy Dusty Stroup gave Bob Miller the idea to signal for the hit-and-run. The call was the right one as Stroup was able to get into scoring position on an infield chopper from Cody Pasic.
With two-down, Bellingham was able to plate the first run of the ballgame on a ground ball hit right up the middle from Cole Joy.
The lead wouldn’t last long as Corvallis was finally able put a runner on base with a lead off single to centerfield. With runners at a premium, the Knights took to the bunt in hopes to find some success with a runner in scoring position.
The plan worked to perfection as a single to right gave Corvallis their first run, and tying the game in the process, in what would be Grant Holman’s final inning. After retiring five of the first seven batters via the strikeout, and retiring the game’s first 12 hitters, Holman ended his day allowing one run on two hits, and fanning six batters in the no-decision.
The Bells were right back at it in the bottom of the sixth inning. Zach Needham led off the inning with a no-doubt line drive that sailed over the wall in right field as the Bells retook the lead 2-1.
Bellingham was just two outs away from taking home a 2-1 victory. On a 1-0 count, the Knights’ Chandler Anderson took a hanging changeup over the wall in left field to tie things up 2-2.
Then in the bottom of the 12th inning, the marathon had concluded. The win marks Bellingham’s first victory in the second half of the season, after clinching a playoff birth with the league’s best 18-8 record in part one of the 2018 campaign.
The Bells will turn to non-league play tomorrow against the North Sound Emeralds.
First pitch is scheduled for 6:35 pm.