Bend plated three runs in the first inning on a three-run blast by A Hunter off Bells starter Cordell Greene. The Elks added an extra handful of runs in the bottom of the fifth to make it 8-1 as they evened the series at a game apiece.
Bellingham’s strength so far this season, its pitching, struggled early and often as Greene and Jimmy Reed gave up nine runs on 12 hits before reliever Andy Seaman was able to shut down the Elks for the final 1 1/3 innings.
The Bells tried pieced together a rally in the ninth inning that included four runs on six hits but the deficit was too great as Bellingham left the game-tying run at the plate.
Travis Anderson and Charlie Markson led the Bells offensively with each collecting a pair of hits in the contest. Ben Ruff also chipped in with a solo home run in the sixth inning for Bellingham’s second run of the game. Ruff’s blast was his third of the season.
The loss dropped Bellingham’s record to 18-14 and the Bells now sit 4 1/2 games behind West Division-leading Bend.
The Bells wrap up their nine-game road trip and three-game series against the Elks on Sunday at 5:05 p.m. before returning to Joe Martin Field to open a three-game set against the Cowlitz Black Bears on Monday, July 12. Fans can catch all the action live at www.BellinghamBells.com.