The Bellingham Bells won their fourth straight game, defeating the Kelowna Falcons 2-1, Thursday night. Jared Fisher had yet another solid outing for the Bells earning his fourth win of the season and was backed by Grant Fink’s third home run of the season.
The Bells offense was faced with a tough test as Kelowna sent out their All-Star pitcher Brandon Marris who is 7-0 on the season with a 1.64 ERA. Marris shut the Bells out on July 18th in Kelowna only allowing five hits. After the Jared Fisher struck out the side in the top of the first, the Bells made Marris work a lot in the bottom of the inning. The Bells did not score but they worked the count very well and forced Marris to throw 30 pitches.
There was no scoring until the top of the third inning with Kelowna got on the board first. Jonathan Munoz led off the inning with a single and was moved to second on a ground ball from Patrick Jones. Fisher struck out Jace Conrad for the second time in the game to get the second out. Fisher then struggled to find the plate and walked Tyler Qualls and Greg Friesen to load the bases for Andrew Firth. Fisher hit Firth in the helmet with a slow breaking ball which gave Kelowna a 1-0 lead. Fisher struck out Brock Slavin to escape the jam with only one run.
The Bells tied the game in the bottom of the fourth inning on a one out solo home run from Grant Fink. Fink drilled the first pitch from Marris well over the left field fence into the Arne Hanna Aquatic Center parking lot for his third home run of the year. After four innings, the Bells and Falcons were tied 1-1.
The Bells would take the lead in the bottom of the sixth inning against Marris. Causey led off the inning with a single and was bunted to second by Derek Atkinson. While Grant Fink was batting, Marris through a wild pitch which allowed Causey to advance to third. Fink would walk which brought up the struggling Jarel Lewis. After falling behind in the count 1-2, Lewis lined a ball to center field which was caught by Kyle Moses, but it was just deep enough for Causey to tag up and score which gave the Bells a 2-1 lead.
Bells starter Jared Fisher pitched a great ball game for the Bells, going seven innings only allowing one run, on six hits and he struck out eight batters on the night. Jacob Coats relieved Fisher to start the top of the eighth inning and retired the first two batters he faced, but then had back to back two out walks to Kyle Moses and Tucker Alexander to put the tying run in scoring position. That would be it for Coats and Davis Engel came on and induced a flyout to left fielder Des Santos to end the inning.
The Bells went down in order in the bottom of the eighth so it was up to Davis Engel to protect the Bells 2-1 lead in the ninth. Engel induced a groundout from Patrick Johnson, and then struck out Kyle Pearson for the second out. Kelowna catcher Tyler Qualls singled with two outs to put the tying run aboard for the Falcons. The next batter, Greg Friesen drilled a ball into the right centerfield gap but Bells centerfielder Jonny Locher ran the ball down making a great catch at the warning track to end the game. Engel and the Bells held on to win 2-1.
The Bells have now won four straight games and with the victory tonight, the now have a three game lead over Kelowna for the second playoff spot in the East and only trail Wenatchee by one game for the first spot in the division. The Bells and Falcons will play game three of the series tomorrow at 7:05 PM.