A near record crowd in Victoria took in another Bellingham Bells victory, as the visitors took the middle game of the set 4-1.
For the second consecutive night, it was the long ball that pushed the Bells to a win. After leaving the ballpark five times on Friday night, a pair of home runs accounted for three of the four Bellingham runs on Saturday. In a similar repeat performance, it was another member of the Oakland University Golden Grizzlies rotation that pitched the Bells to victory. After Jason Hager picked up the complete game win on Friday, Jake Paulson (3-3) followed suit with an impressive 6.1 inning performance in route to his third win of the summer.
Unlike Friday however, it was the HarbourCats that jumped on the board first. After Paulson retired the first two batters in the top of the second, Austin Russell and Timmy Richards singled. Russell went first to third on the Richards single, and then came home after Jack Meggs’ throw to third bounced out of play. Meggs was charged with the error, and Paulson the unearned run. But that was all the offense the HarbourCats managed against the Bells staff.
Bellingham got on the board and jumped ahead with one swing of the bat in the fourth. After Alex Calbick reached on an error by shortstop Alex DeGoti, Ryan Kirby picked up his second home run of the season. It was the definition of a wind-aided home run, as he just flew it out to right. But as the wind continued to blow out of Royal Athletic Park, the ball carried just over the right field wall. The homerun proved to be the game winner, as the Bells did not relinquish the lead.
Victoria starting pitcher Tyler Rowe pitched fairly well, but picked up the loss. Rowe finished five innings and allowed two runs, only one earned. He handed over the reigns to Scott Kuzminsky who went the rest of the way. After Kuzminsky retired the Bells in the sixth, the long ball struck again. He set down the first two in the Bells half of the seventh before Bailey, for the second time in as many nights, put one over the wall in left, this time a line drive home run inside the foul pole. His second home run of the season made it 3-1 Bellingham.
The final run of the ballgame went to the Bells as well, as three consecutive singles in the eighth by Calbick, Kirby, and Chris Beall made it 4-1. Beall picked up the RBI as he plated Calbick from third to cap off the offense for the night.
Up 4-1, Chase Radan, who picked up the final two outs of the seventh, returned to the mound for the eighth. After a leadoff single and a walk, Gary Hatch went to his veteran Andrew Olson to get out of the jam. The lefty came in with the tying run at the plate and no one out. Olson struck out Jordan Ellis, retired DeGoti on a fly out, and finished the inning as he retired Victoria leading home run hitter John Schuknecht on a fly out to right.
Bells all-star closer Marc Huberman wrapped up the victory in the ninth. After he walked the leadoff batter, he induced a double play off the bat of Andre Real, the top hitter on the Victoria roster. He then retired Timmy Richards on a ground out to seal the win.
Even with the win, the Bells were eliminated from playoff contention, as the Wenatchee AppleSox secured a spot in the postseason with a win over the Kelowna Falcons. The Bells look to pick up the sweep and finish the season over .500 Sunday afternoon in the season finale for both Bellingham and Victoria. First pitch is set for 1:05. The broadcast of the season finale can be heard on AM 930 KBAI, and online at 930KBAI.com as the pregame show will begin at 12:35 from Royal Athletic Park in Victoria.