A three game series in Walla Walla got off to a rocky start for the Bellingham Bells, as the Walla Walla Sweets took game one at Borleske Stadium.
After taking two one run victories over Corvallis earlier in the week, the tables would turn on the Bells, as the Sweets plated two in the 8th inning to knock off Bellingham 4-3.
Both starters turned out quality efforts, but neither factored in the decision. Andrew Olson went five innings, and allowed two runs on five hits. Olson left the game on the wrong side of a 2-1 score, but Sweets starter Sean Silva allowed a run in the 7th to get Olson off the hook. Silva threw 107 pitches, as the Sweets elected to stick with him through the 7th inning. He allowed two runs on six hits in the no decision.
Bellingham got on the board first at Borleske. Meggs doubled, moved to third base on a ground out, and came home on an RBI ground out by all-star second baseman Ryan Yamane. But the lead was short lived, as Olson allowed a two-run homerun to Jarod Gonzales, his second on the season, in the bottom of the 4th. Olson left the game trailing 2-1.
The Bells tied the score at 2-2 in the 7th inning. After Chris Beall walked, and Jake Bailey singled, Johnny Farrington blooped a single into shallow center field, scoring Beall from second base.
Tied at two in the 8th, Bellingham took the lead back. All-star third baseman Alex Calbick doubled to right-center, which preceded a Michael Annunziata single. With runners on the corners and Eric Angerer at the plate, Sweets catcher Renae Martinez misplayed a pitch from reliever Sean-Luke Brija, which scored Calbick from third.
Aaron Sandefur, who came in for relief of Olson to begin the 6th, remained on the mound in the 8th. After retiring the leadoff batter, Sandefur walked two and allowed a single, which loaded the bases for Mike Paulson. Gary Hatch brought in Marc Huberman, which resulted in a pinch hitter for the Sweets. Jake Wylie came in and grounded the first pitch he saw back up the middle, plating two runs, and giving Walla Walla the 4-3 lead.
Sweets all-star closer Brija remained in the game for the 9th. After he allowed a single to Jack Meggs, he induced a ground ball double play from Johnny Farrington. The Bells threatened again, after Yamane walked and Calbick singled, but Brija closed out the game after he got Michael Annunziata to fly out to left.
Bellingham fell to 19-17, 2.5 games back of Wenatchee in the north division. Every member of the Bells starting lineup reached base at least once, and all had a hit except for Yamane, who had one of the two RBI’s on the night for the Bells.
The three game set continues on Saturday night at Borleske Stadium, as the Bells look to even up the series. First pitch is at 7:05, and the game can be heard on AM 930 KBAI and 930kbai.com. Mike Weisman will have the pregame show beginning at 6:35.