Before a packed house at Joe Martin Stadium on Opening Day of the 2015 season, the Bells held off the Kitsap BlueJackets for a 4-3 win. In an entertaining game from beginning to close the Bells received standout defensive plays that proved to be the difference.
The evening got started with a ribbon cutting ceremony to officially open the new field at Joe Martin Stadium and right hander Kyle Rossman followed the ceremony with a dazzling first inning of work. He set down the BlueJackets 1-2-3 in the first including a strikeout. But, a clean baseball game was not in the cards. For the rest of Rossman’s five inning outing he had to pitch with Blue Jacket runners on. In the second inning, the Blue Jackets threated with runners on first and second and only one out. Rossman, managed to get Joe Galindo to pop up for the second out. Then BlueJackets catcher Jack Veasey lined a ball that looked to be extra bases into right center but centerfielder Lou Della Fera caught it on a full sprint to end the inning.
Rossman’s only run that he allowed came off an error in the third, that gave the BlueJackets a momentary 1-0 lead. The error was a momentary blip in an otherwise well-played game defensively for the Bells.
Perhaps the biggest play came in the top of the fourth. With the bases loaded and only one out, the nine hitter Colby Brown lined a single to right. The runner at third, Spencer Dunlap, froze then retreated to tag up on what he thought would be a fly out. Walker Olis, the right fielder for the Bells, played the ball on one hop and threw a strike to home, where catcher Bronson Larsen applied the tag for the second out. Rossman then got the leadoff hitter for Kitsap, Alex Junior, to ground out to the end the inning without giving up a run.
"The Ball was not coming out of my hand great, but I was able to make some big pitches when I needed to," Rossman said. "Getting some big plays from out defense went a long way to getting the win.”
The Bells, offensively, managed to capitalize on the four Blue Jackets errors. Scoring runs in the third, fourth, sixth, and seventh innings. Jordan Schlehuber had a sensational night at the dish going three for four with an RBI and a run scored. The biggest of Schlehuber’s hits was his last. With two outs in the seventh inning, the Bells began to rally with a two out walk and two out single. Wasting no time Schlehuber lined a single on the first pitch of the at bat to score what proved to be the deciding run.
The Bells bullpen was able to hold of the Bluejackets from there. Right hander Riley Storedahl, threw three perfect innings of relief while racking up six strikeouts to preserve the 4-1 lead.
Brian Way came on to close the door in the ninth and was hit hard out of the gate. He gave up a leadoff single to Spencer Dunlap and double to Joe Galindo. Way settled down after the base hits and got the next two guys to ground out, bringing in two runs to make is a one run game, 4-3. With nobody on, Way struck out Blue Jacket Alex Junior to end it and give the Bells a 1-0 start to the season.
Pitching Coach & Recruiting Coordinator Jim Clem called it a complete team win, going on to say, “I really like our group of guys this year. It’s tough to win when you haven’t played together before but they proved they can do it tonight.”
The series continues tomorrow at Joe Martin Stadium with game two. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05PM with left hander Reagan Todd slated to start. Erik Oas will be on the call on 930AM KBAI.