The Bellingham Bells tallied four runs in both the first and fourth innings on their way to a 9-3 victory over the Walla Walla Sweets on Friday night.
Ryan Yamane started the early offense for the Bells with a one-out single. Alex Calbick would follow that up with a single of his own, before RJ Ybarra would drive in the first run of the night for the home team with a base hit.
With runners on first and second and two outs, everything would begin to go the Bells way. It would all start when a passed ball allowed Calbick and Ybarra to reach second and third. Following that, a wild pitch brought in Calbick to give the Bells an early 2-0 lead.
The offense for Bellingham was only getting started at that point. Chris Beall would then draw a two-out walk, placing runners on the corners, before a Jack Meggs triple down the right-field line, scoring both Ybarra and Beall and giving the Bells a 4-0 first inning lead. Sweets starting pitcher Danny Zandona got out of the jam after retiring Aaron Sandefur on a grounder right back to him.
“I was trying to get my timing down, I got it down and then looked for a fastball,” said Meggs of his thought process during the at-bat. He added, “I just put my head down and run,” allowing him to use his speed for the two-run triple.
A wild fourth inning is where the Bells would bring in four more of their runs on the night. With one out and Meggs at the plate, the future University of Washington Husky hit a popup in foul territory which would be caught in the hat of a fan wearing a Sweets jersey. Walla Walla third-baseman Jarod Gonzales ended up with the hat and ball in his glove and the umpires would eventually rule the play as a simple strike, allowing Meggs to continue his at-bat.
After the chaotic start to his plate appearance, Meggs would come through with a double. Sandefur followed by getting hit by a pitch, before a Steve Leverett bunt base hit loaded the bases. Johnny Sewald earned a walk to score Meggs, prior to another strange play on a foul ball hit by Ryan Yamane. The Northern Colorado University prospect would hit a foul popup to the area of the Sweets dugout, where Gonzales would again run into a rare occurrence. This time, he would run into one of his teammates while going for the ball, causing him to miss the opportunity for another out.
Yamane took full advantage of his extended plate appearance by driving in Leverett on a single. Also while Yamane was at the plate, Sandefur would score from third on a wild pitch.
Sweets manager J.C. Biagi would then turn to his bullpen, going to left-hander Drew Christina. With Calbick at the plate, the Bells would put the game in motion, causing a wild throw to second base by Walla Walla catcher Dominic Miroglio, allowing Sewald to score from third base. Christina then retired the next two Bellingham hitters to end the inning.
Christina would pitch 4 2/3 strong innings out of the bullpen, allowing one run on four hits and a walk, striking out four.
The Bellingham pitchers were the real story on the night, as manager Gary Hatch turned to the quintet of Nate Cole, John Albert, Chris Van Dyke, Marc Huberman, and Nick Baker to lead the Bells to victory. Cole (2-0) would earn the win for his five inning performance in which he allowed two unearned runs on seven hits and one walk, striking out two Sweets hitters.
“The pitchers did a phenomenal job,” said Hatch. “From beginning to end everyone threw strikes.”
The Bells manager was pleased with the complete team effort that was on display Friday night at Joe Martin Field.
“Definitely one of the better played games overall,” stated Hatch. “Good to see players like Meggs come out strong on defense and hit the ball hard as well.”
Walla Walla would tally two of their runs in the fifth inning and another in the ninth.
On Saturday night, the two teams will wrap up the series at Joe Martin Field. Game time is 7:05 and all the action can be heard on AM 930 KBAI and 930kbai.com with Mike Weisman on the call.