The Kitsap BlueJackets jumped to a big lead early and never looked back, snapping the Bells' 14-game win streak with a 12-3 win on Wednesday, July 9 at Joe Martin Field.
The Bells (22-6, 20-6 WCL) lost their first game since falling to the Bend Elks on June 21. The 12 consecutive West Coast League wins for Bellingham stands as the third-longest win streak in league history.
Kitsap had lost 13 straight games entering Wednesday's game, but started out hot by scoring five runs in the 1st inning. A leadoff walk came around to score before the damaging run-scoring blow came via a grand slam sent over the right field wall from designated hitter Austin Bush (University of California Santa Barbara). The Bells got two outs early in the frame, but four consecutive BlueJackets reached base. A hit, walk and hit by pitch loaded the bases for Bush's long ball.
The BlueJackets loaded the bases again in the second inning before scoring a run via a hit by pitch. Reliever John Albert (Hawaii Pacific University) replaced starter Grant Goodman (University of San Francisco) following the run and limited further damage in the frame. But Kitsap added another run in the 4th inning, after the first three hitters got hits.
Bellingham fought back with a three-run 4th inning, sending nine hitters to the plate and collecting four hits. Third baseman Chris Baker (University of Washington) singled home right fielder Walker Olis (Pacific University), who began the inning with a leadoff single. Catcher Eric Webber (Georgetown University), who had walked, advanced to second on the hit. A Kitsap error on a groundball extended the inning and loaded the bases and first baseman Scott Heath (University of Maine) took advantage of the opportunity, singling home two more baserunners cutting the lead to 7-3.
But the BlueJackets responded with a three-run inning of their own, building the lead to 10-3 in the 6th inning and adding two more runs in the 7th inning. The 12 runs given up marked just the third time this season Bellingham has given up double-digit runs, an uncharacteristic total for the Bellingham pitching staff who leads the league in ERA.
Despite the loss, the Bells continue to hold the best record in the league and have an 8 1/2 game lead in the WCL West Division standings. Bellingham will look to begin another win streak tomorrow as the Bells travel to Kelowna for a three-game series against the Falcons in Canada. First pitch Thursday is set for 6:35 p.m.