The Bellingham Bells came up short in the opener to Cowlitz on Friday evening, dropping game one of the series 5-3. The Bells have dropped three of their past four, as offense continues to be the biggest question. The loss dropped the Bells to 16-14, but with the Walla Walla loss, still just two games back of the division leader.
Cowlitz got on the board first, plating single runs in both the 2nd and 3rd inning. With men on the corners and two outs in the 2nd, Nate Cole was called for a balk, which brought home the first run of the night, a lead that Cowlitz would not relinquish. Cole would settle down after allowing an unearned run in the 3rd inning. The righty would get credit for the quality start, but picked up the loss, allowing two runs (one earned), on seven hits in six innings of work. His ERA would drop below 2 (1.99) for the first time this season, as he fell to 3-1 in 2013.
His counterpart for Cowlitz, Trent Paddon, had another dominant performance on the mound vs. the Bells. After getting a no-decision last Saturday in Bellingham, his final stat line almost mimicked that in the win Friday night. The young righty allowed only one run, unearned, in six innings of three hit ball. Paddon picked up his first win of the season, lowering his ERA to 0.91.
Leading 2-1 in the bottom of the 7th, Cowlitz put up the first big number on the scoreboard. Aaron Sandefur came on in relief of Cole, and would give up three runs in an inning of work, though only one was earned. With runners on 1st and 3rd, Ryan Aquilar doubled to the leftfield corner, scoring two. Cowlitz tacked on another as Devyn Bolasky drove in Aquilar to make it 5-1.
The Bells offense came alive for the first time in the next half inning. After retiring the side in order in the 7th, reliever Dominic Mazza faced trouble in the 8th. The bases were loaded courtesy of two walks and a single for RJ Ybarra. The Arizona State catcher hit a sharp ground ball directly at the third base bag, deflecting off the base and rolling into left field. Sewald and Calbick scored, making it 5-3, giving Ybarra 11 RBI’s on the year. But the Bells would leave the tying runners aboard as Ryan Kirby struck out to end the side in the 8th.
Bellingham went 1-2-3 in the 9th, as Mazza picked up the three inning save. Bellingham and Cowlitz each sit in 3rd place in their respective division, two and three games back of the leaders respectively.
The Bells and Black Bears will be back at it Saturday evening, as Luke Morrill looks to get the Bells back in the winning column, and break the brief two game losing skid.
The broadcast can be heard at AM 930 KBAI and online at 930KBAI.com. The pregame show begins at 6:05, with first pitch scheduled for 6:35, as Mike Weisman will have the call from Story Field.