Danny Miller hit a solo home run and Scott Heath added an RBI single as the Bells edged Kelowna, 2-1 for their sixth straight win on Sunday, June 29 at Joe Martin Field.
The Bells (14-5, 12-5 WCL) swept Kelowna (6-15 WCL), beating the Falcons in pitchers' duels each of the last two games. Bellingham now leads the West Division by three games and has won four straight league contests.
Miller (Cal State Chico) began the second inning with a long home run to right field, clearing the protective netting that hangs above the outfield wall and sending the ball into the street beyond the fence. It was Miller's fourth home run of the season and third in the past week, after he hit two 3-run home runs on Wednesday against the Everett Merchants.
"He takes really good swings," Bellingham pitching coach Jim Clem said. "So it's not a mistake that he's hitting those out. Danny is a fun guy to watch -- we've got a lot of guys that are fun to watch that take quality swings."
Third baseman Chris Baker (University of Washington) led off the sixth inning with a double to left field, his second hit of the game and third overall hit for the Bells on the afternoon. He advanced to third on a ground out and scored when Heath (University of Maine) singled to left field.
Bellingham starting pitcher Gabe Cramer (Stanford University) held the Falcons in check during his five innings of work, allowing two hits and two walks, while striking out five.
"I think I had everything working today, as opposed to my last start," Cramer said. "I had a couple leadoff walks that I wasn't too pleased with, but for the most part I tried to pound the zone and make them swing the bat."
The Bells got another strong bullpen performance as Moises Ceja (UCLA), Ryan McMonigle (Concordia University), Hever Bueno (Arizona State University) and David Bigelow (Gonzaga University) each pitched an inning.
Kelowna threatened to tie the game in the top of the sixth, as the first two hitters singled and then advanced on a sacrifice bunt. But Ceja got a ground out to first as the runners held, and after a walk loaded the bases, a pop out to second ended the threat.
The Falcons manufactured a run in the eighth after Kelowna's leadoff hitter was hit by a pitch to begin the inning. He advanced to second on a ground out, and reached third on a sacrifice fly before scoring on a single from the designated hitter Brandon Grimsley (Murray State). The tying run reached second base after another hit by pitch, but a ground out ended the inning. The run scored broke a streak of 18 innings without allowing a run for the Bellingham pitching staff.
Bigelow earned the save, striking out the first two hitters he faced in a 1-2-3 ninth inning.
On the postgame show, Clem spoke to the strength of the Bellingham defense in helping the Bells during their strong start to the season.
"The defense is something you want to have every day," Clem said. "And our defenders, no matter who has been out on the field, have made plays. We're making very few errors and making the right plays."
He also praised the work of catchers Jimmy Sinatro (Gonzaga University) and Eric Webber (Georgetown University) for their work in the last two games, which have featured strong pitching performances.
The Bells head on the road to Wenatchee for a three-game series against the AppleSox before returning to Joe Martin Field on Thursday to host the Cowlitz Black Bears. First pitch against Wenatchee is set for 7:05 p.m. tomorrow.