Theron Kay showed no signs of it being his first start of the 2018 summer.
In an 8-0 victory over the visiting Bend Elks, the Bells received just the start they were searching for from the right-handed pitcher out of Cal State Northridge.
Accustomed to the reliever role, Kay had put together superb numbers, appearing in over 24 innings and allowing just one earned back on July 5 against the Corvallis Knights. Kay’s dominance continued, even in the starting role.
"I was thinking the same thing, honestly. I wasn't trying to change my mentality," Kay said. "I was just trying to attack hitters, throw striked and let my defense work for me."
In six innings of work, Kay (3-0) allowed just one hit and one walk, while striking out four in his shutout victory.
With Kay’s performance, the Bells didn’t need to elicit much insurance. However, Bellingham gave the pitching staff much more than they asked for.
It took one trip through the order for the Bells to finally get on the scoreboard against Mikey Hooper, Bend’s starting pitcher.
Guthrie Morrison was able to battle Hooper to a 3-2 count before taking first base on a one-out walk. On a 3-2 count with two outs, Morrison was on the move and Ernie Yake’s double allowed the speedy centerfielder to score from first base.
Jordan Stoner was able to get his speed on the base paths with a one-out infield single. Bellingham’s newest member, Chris Jimenez, a catcher from Long Beach State, joined the scoring with an RBI-single in just his second at-bat in the bottom of the fourth inning.
It didn’t take a rally to get the Bells on the board in the fifth inning. Zach Needham led the inning off by crushing a 2-2 pitch that sailed over the wall in right field. Needham’s homer only ignited Bellingham’s rally in the bottom of the inning.
For the second consecutive inning, the Bells were able to load up the bases. Jimenez picked up his second RBI on the day with a sacrifice fly to center field, which scored Dusty Stroup. Guthrie Morrison took a pitch off the hand to reload the bases, giving Cody Pasic an RBI on four straight balls.
The bottom of the sixth went quite similarly to the inning prior. After a one-out RBI base-knock from Jordan Stoner, the Bells were able to load the bases after Jimenez was plunked in the back with two outs. Morrison was able to capitalize with a 2-out, 2-RBI single to push Bellingham’s lead to 8-0.
Mississippi State’s Cole Marsh came into relief for Kay, tossing a gem of his own. Through three innings of work, Marsh allowed two hits of shutout baseball of his own.
The top of the ninth inning posed as the only trouble either Bellingham pitcher would face on the night. Marsh was able to work out of a jam with runners on second and third with two outs, to complete the three-inning shutout save.