Troy Viola played hero on Sunday afternoon as he hit a 2-run home run in the bottom of the ninth inning to beat the Portland Pickles in game three, 2-1.
Viola the Maestro
In the bottom of the ninth, with the Bells down one, on a 1-0 count, 3B Troy Viola came up to bat with pinch runner Nick Sokol on first. The next pitch turned into a 360-ft 2-run home run for the walkoff victory. Outside of Viola’s heroics, it was a shaky day at the plate for Bellingham, as they had just one other hit, which came in the form of a Derek Marshall Jr. single in the bottom of the second inning. However, despite the off day at the plate, Bellingham moved to 14-7 and just a half game behind the Victoria HarbourCats in the WCL North Division.
Pitching Keeps it Close
Despite having no offensive support until the final batter, the pitching staff for Bellingham kept it as just a one-run game throughout. Starter CJ Varela (4.0 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 3 K) allowed Portland’s only run of the game in the top of the fourth, and now boasts a 1.12 ERA on the summer. Logan Hatley (4.0 IP, 2 H, 6 K) put in four stellar innings of relief, and Justin Armbruester (1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 K) earned his second win of the year after pitching the top of the ninth inning. Even while trailing for the entire game, the Bells’ pitchers showed off why they’re a perennial power in the WCL.
The Bells (14-7) currently sit just a half-game behind the Victoria HarbourCats, with Victoria set to play tonight at 6:35 against Kelowna. The Bells will depart on a six-game road trip, beginning July 2nd in Yakima. First up is a three-game series against the 8-14 Yakima Valley Pippins, whom the Bells swept at Joe Martin Field earlier in the season. Then Bellingham will travel to Victoria for a three game-series against the HarbourCats, where the team will have the potential to seize first place in the division. After concluding against Kelowna tomorrow, Victoria will have four days off before the Bells come into down for the WCL North Division showdown. Bellingham will return to Joe Martin Field on Monday, July 8th, to play host to the WCL South-leading Walla Walla Sweets (15-5) at 6:35 pm.