The Bellingham Bells were shut out by the Kelowna Falcons 2-0, Saturday night. Falcon’s starter, Cord Cockrill did not allow a hit until the seventh inning and pitched 8 2/3 innings of shutout baseball earning the victory.
The Kelowna Falcons scored first in the top of the third inning against Bells starter Andrew Olson. Kelowna shortstop Patrick Johnson led off the inning with a single and was bunted to second by Brock Slavin. Tyler Qualls singled to put runners at first and third with one out. That brought up Kyle Moses who beat out a double play which allowed Johnson to come home and score and give Kelowna a 1-0 lead.
After allowing that third inning run, Andrew Olson got into a groove retiring eight of the next nine batters he faced. In the top of the sixth inning, Olson popped up Tyler Qualls and forced Kyle Moses to groundout for the first two outs of the inning. That brought up Andrew Firth who hit a line drive that just cleared the left field fence for his second home run of the year. That home run gave Kelowna a 2-0 lead after five and a half innings.
Kelowna starter Cord Cockrill was brilliant Saturday night and took a no hitter into the bottom of the seventh inning. Cockrill forced Atkinson to groundout to the shortstop Patrick Johnson for the first out of the seventh. That brought up Bells third basemen Grant Fink who singled through the hole on the left side of the infield to break up Cockrill’s no hitter. Cockrill then hit the next batter Des Santos with the pitch to put two men on with one out. That brought up Kai Hatch hit the ball hard but right at the second basemen Tucker Alexander who turned the double play to end the inning.
Bells starter Andrew Olson pitched a great game but was outshined by Cockrill’s outstanding performance. Olson pitched the complete nine innings, only allowing two runs on five hits while striking out five in a tough luck loss. Cockrill was sent back out for the bottom of the ninth inning with the Bells’ down to their last chance.
Johnny Farrington led off the ninth with a flyout to right field, followed by a fly out to left field from Andrew Ely leaving it up to Derek Atkinson to extend the game. With two outs, Atkinson hit a hard grounder to first which bounced over the head of Kelowna first basemen Troy Conyers. That brought up Grant Fink who came up with his second hit, singling to put two men. Des Santos lined a ball to centerfield to load the bases for Kai Hatch. That would end the night for Cockrill who fell one out short of the shutout. Juan Padilla came on to relieve Cockrill who induced a grounder to first from Hatch which ended the game and Kelowna held on to win 2-0.
The Bells and Falcons split the four game series which leaves Kelowna one game behind the Bells for the second playoff spot in the Eastern division. The Bells will make-up last Sunday’s rainout against the Bend Elks tomorrow at Joe Martin Field before heading out on the road. First pitch between the Bells and Elks will be at 1:35 PM.