A rainy evening at Joe Martin Field didn't stop the Bellingham offense from rallying once again, as the Bells earned their seventh come-from-behind win of the summer, taking down the Kelowna Falcons 6-4 on Friday, June 27.
Bellingham (10-5) has won four straight and leads the West Coast League West Division standings. The Bells reached the six-run mark for the 13th time in 17 games played this season.
Kelowna (6-13) scored in the first inning, as leadoff hitter Tyler Brown (Southern Nevada College) singled to center and reached third on the play after the ball got past center fielder Nate Anderson (Bellevue College). Brown then scored on a single by Jerod Smith (University of San Diego).
Bellingham answered in the bottom of the first as catcher Jimmy Sintatro (Gonzaga University) one-hopped the left field wall with a two-out double to score first baseman Scott Heath (University of Maine), who had singled earlier in the inning.
Kelowna built a 3-1 lead, adding one run apiece in the third and fifth innings as the leadoff hitter reached safely in each frame. Brown led off the third with a walk and later scored on a wild pitch. The Falcons scored with a two-out single in the fifth for a 3-1 lead.
A two-run fifth inning for Bellingham tied the game. Right fielder Jack Klein (Stanford University) was hit by a pitch to begin the inning. The next hitter, shortstop Chris Baker (University of Washington), was also hit by a pitch before Anderson roped a double down the left field line to score Klein and cut the lead to 3-2. Bellingham tied the contest after back-to-back walks, the second to third baseman Dallas Carroll with the bases loaded.
The offense continued to chip away the next two frames, adding a run in the sixth inning when designated hitter Danny Miller (Cal State Chico) reached on an error and later scored as second baseman Ian Yetsko (Oakland University) hit a ground ball through the legs of the Kelowna first baseman with two runners on base.
Miller and Yetsko played key roles again an inning later after Kelowna had taken a 4-3 lead in the top of the seventh via two doubles. Carroll led off the eighth inning with a double, and after a lineout and a strikeout, Miller came through with a two-out single to score Carroll. Klein then doubled, putting runners on second and third. Baker was hit by a pitch for the second time on the evening before Yetsko came through with another two-out hit, singling to right field to give Bellingham a 6-4 lead.
Bellingham's offense has shown a balanced attack up and down the lineup this season, and got key hits from Anderson, Miller, Sinatro and Yetsko in the comeback effort on Friday.
"We got spark plugs," Bellingham assistant coach Mike Gange said. "And we spark them into different kinds of situations in our lineup. It never seems to disappoint."
The first batter of the inning reached safely in six of the nine innings for the Falcons, but Bellingham limited offensive damage thanks in part to 13 strikeouts. Dan Ludwig (Belmont University) and David Bigelow (Gonzaga University) combined for nine strikeouts in relief. After the first two Falcons reached on singles in the eighth, Bigelow entered the game and struck out the side before retiring Kelowna 1-2-3 in the final inning.
"They (the bullplen) give us the momentum on the offensive side because of the quick innings," Gange said.
Bellingham, now holding a two-game lead in the West Division, takes on Kelowna Saturday at 7:05 p.m. in game two of the three-game series.