Shortage of baserunners was not an issue for Bellingham on Thursday night in the team’s 11-1 victory over the Cowlitz Black Bears.
It took small ball to get on the Bells on the board first. Once Bellingham got started, the team was hard to stop.
With the way the Bells’ pitching staff played, the scoring was quite excessive. Chris Micheles started the game off with five innings of no-hit baseball.
The University of Washington lefty would have gone longer but his strikeout pitch was working phenomenally. A lot of strikeouts are often accompanied by a lot of pitches, as Bob Miller said Micheles day was done despite his no-hit bid, eight strikeouts, and only issuing one walk, without allowing a run.
After stranding a pair of baserunners in the first two innings, the Bells were finally able to crack the Cowlitz code in the bottom of the third inning. Matt McLain started things off with a single up the middle and Ernie Yake followed McLain with a walk.
Dusty Stroup laid a bunt back to the mound, moving Yake and McLain into scoring position. Cody Pasic wasted little time snagging an RBI, sending the first pitch he saw to deep left field for a sacrifice-fly, plating McLain.
In the bottom of the fourth, Bellingham had little need for small ball. Connor Mack took a one-out pitch on a line that rolled all the way to the right-centerfield wall. Mack turned on the jets and motored all the way to third base for a standing triple.
Mack wasn’t quite done running. An inside pitch on a 1-1 count rolled to the backstop and the speedy right fielder stepped on home plate to extend the lead 2-0.
The Bells were able to double their score in the bottom of the fifth inning via the two-out rally. Pasic was able to first extend the inning with two down with a single up the middle, putting Yake in scoring position.
Jordan Stoner then ripped a ball to center field to plate Bellingham’s all-star shortstop. Stoner was not done causing trouble as he peeled off for second base, forcing a throw into centerfield, scoring Pasic easily.
The Bells continued their consecutive-inning with at least a run into the bottom of the sixth inning. Back-to-back singles from Connor Mack and Chris Jimenez allowed Guthrie Morrison to lay down a sac-bunt moving both runners into scoring position. A sac-fly from McLain and a single from Yake, blew the contest open to 6-0.
Bellingham still wasn’t done, as the squad put a four spot on the board, nearly batting around in the seventh inning. Cowlitz struggled with its command, and the Bells pounced. A pair of walks and a hit-by-pitch allowed Chris Jimenez to rip a one-out, two-run double down the third base line.
McLain would pour on the run with a two-out, two-run RBI single right back up the middle, pushing the Bells’ lead to double digits.
Cam Nowack got his first swings in league play and with a runner on second, his first at-bat was an RBI single, scoring Cody Pasic after his leadoff double.
While the offense certainly had a field day, Bellingham’s pitching staff has quietly proven why they are the best in the league.
Peter Kemble came into the ballgame, allowing just one hit in three innings pitched, striking out four Black Bears, and walking just one batter.
Cowlitz spoiled Bellingham’s shutout finally getting on the scoreboard in the top of the ninth inning with a one-out RBI single against Carson Olson.
The Bells have four more games at Joe Martin Field, though only one will count as an official home game, making up a rained-out contest in Kelowna on Saturday.
Tomorrow will be a home game at Joe Martin Field and first pitched is scheduled for 6:35 pm.