Seth Martinez shut down the Corvallis Knights for seven innings on the mound and two early home runs provided the offense as the Bells topped the Corvallis Knights, 4-1 on Thursday, July 17 at Joe Martin Field.
Bellingham (28-7, 26-7 WCL) improved to 6-1 in games following a loss, as Martinez (Arizona State University) retired 19 batters in a row after allowing a one-out single in the top of the 1st inning.
The Bells struck for two runs apiece in the 1st and 2nd innings, both via home runs. Right fielder Danny Miller (Cal State Chico) homered to right field with two outs in the bottom of the 1st inning, scoring first baseman Scott Heath (University of Maine) who had singled. It was Miller's team-leading 7th home run of the season, a long home run that cleared the protective netting hanging above the fence.
Third baseman Garret Harpole (Western Oregon University) doubled the Bellingham lead an inning later, hitting his first home run as a Bell. Harpole, hitting right-handed, drove a home run to the opposite field over the 350-foot sign in deep right-center field. The home run scored catcher Eric Webber (Georgetown University), who had led off the inning with a walk.
Martinez, a WCL All-Star, improved to 4-0 and struck out three batters while walking none. Corvallis starter Jackson Lockwood, also an all-star selection, settled in after the first two innings and both pitchers worked quickly through the middle innings of the game.
"Coming into this game I knew Corvallis was a really good team, so I just wanted to make sure to get ahead early and having Webber back there -- we were on the same page the whole game with pitch calling," Martinez said.
Martinez also spoke to the strong defense played behind him, specifically a diving play made by second baseman Dustin Breshears in the 7th inning. After running a long way into foul territory in shallow right field to make a running catch a play earlier, Breshears robbed a base hit by diving full extension to his right on a ground ball hit up the middle. Harpole also made multiple impressive plays at third base, and was also commended by Martinez on the postgame radio show.
Corvallis erased the shutout in the 9th inning when left fielder Dalton Kelly (University of California Santa Barbara), doubled deep to right field, scoring center fielder Grant Melker who had walked with two outs. Bellingham right fielder Jack Klein (Stanford University) made an impressive play, leaping up against the right field wall and seemingly saved a potential home run as the ball deflected off his glove and rolled back toward the infield. Kelly had both of the Knights' hits in the game.
Bellingham and Corvallis, both WCL division standings leaders, face off again Friday at Joe Martin Field. The first 750 fans will receive a drawstring backpack courtesy of Charter College. First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m.