After Friday night's suspended game, the Bells were quick to get right back to work on Saturday night at Story Field in Longview, Wash. Unfortunately, perhaps too quick. Friday's game ended with the Bells falling, 10-9, and the second game of the series featured an unplugged offense. On Saturday night, Bellingham was shut out, 5-0 after falling behind 4-0 early. The defeat drops the Bells to 36-17 in the West Coast League, as Cowlitz improves to 24-29.
"Tonight was tough for us offensively," Bells assistant coach Mike Gange said. "We couldn't ever find our groove. It's late in the season, and our goal is to rest some guys, but we are in no way checking out."
A double steal got things blazing for Cowlitz in the first inning, as Kort Peterson (UCLA) and Daniel Orr (Corban College) both stole second and third. Bells catcher Eric Webber (Georgetown) committed a throwing error attempting to throw out Orr at second, and with the ball loose, Peterson scored from third. The Black Bears would tack on three more second inning runs, after Bells first baseman Garret Harpole was unable to field a groud ball cleanly that loaded the bases for Cowlitz. Taylor Bryant (Cal State Fullerton) then made Bellingham pay with a two-RBI single that drove in Casey Worden (Saddleback College) and Corey VanDomelen (Linfield). Orr would drive in Peterson on an RBI single that gave the Black Bears a 4-0 advantage. It would be all Cowlitz starter Sam Moreland (George Fox University) would need.
"Errors really hurt us tonight," said Gange. "We didn't play well defensively and it showed. In a close game, errors will come back to hurt you."
Moreland picked up the win, spinning six innings of effective baseball, striking out two and scattering five hits. He shut out a Bells offense that has seemingly been hit or miss the past few weeks. Michael Rucker (BYU) gave up four runs- but none of them were earned- as the two errors led to all four early runs for the Black Bears. The righty allowed four hits and walked four with two strikeouts, but the errors killed him, as he took the loss.
A solo home run by Jonathan Serven (Long Beach State) capped off the scoring for Cowlitz, who finished with nine hits and won their first season series against the Bells. Bellingham, meanwhile, was shut out for the third time this season and had no answers offensively. Chris Baker (Washington) and Walker Olis (Pacific University) each collected two hits, while the only other Bells hit was a single by Dustin Breshears (Gonzaga) with one out in the first inning. Bellingham fell for the fifth time in the last nine games and are only one game ahead of Corvallis (35-18) for the best record in the WCL with one game to play.
"We'll be ready tomorrow," Gange said. "(Seth) Martinez is on the hill for us and we know that entering the playoffs on a high note is very important. Tomorrow, the game will be close."
After Friday night's defeat and Saturday's shutout loss, the Bells are 5-3 overall against Cowlitz this season and have scored three runs or fewer in six of the eight head-to-head meetings.
Sunday's series and regular season finale is set for 5:05pm PDT at Story Field on the Lower Columbia College campus. The broadcast begins at 4:35pm with Dave Grant calling the play-by-play on AM 930 KBAI and online at 930kbai.com. The pregame will feature an interview with Bells assistant coach Dane Siegfried and Cowlitz head coach Tim Matz. Be sure to follow the Bells broadcast team on Twitter: @BellsRadio.