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Kuet Marks Bells Debut with Walk-off Double

06/17/2015 9:51 AM

The setting was just right Tuesday night at Joe Martin Field. Clear skies and a capacity crowd were on hand for Jesse Kuet to make his debut with a Bells team that is red hot. Kuet’s bottom of the ninth inning double brought home Joey Harris to walk-off the Walla Walla Sweets 4-3 and send a sellout crowd at Joe Martin Field into a frenzy.

“Bellingham is awesome,” said Kuet of his first impressions. “It really feels like the pros with the crowd that was out here [at Joe Martin Field] tonight. I give a lot of the credit to {my teammate} Joey {Harris} for tying the game for us. I had no pressure going into that last at bat.”

The walk-off for Kuet is the first of the season for the Bells, who have now won game one of each of the first four series they have played this year. “You saw tonight how great the West Coast League is,” said assistant coach Mike Gange. “We get tremendous support from the Bellingham community and that plays into it, especially late in a close game.”

The game was an exciting thriller that was marked by dominate pitching performances from starters Andrew Kemmerer and Joe Demers. 

Kemmerer made his second start of the year pitching the longest into a game by a Bells starter this season going six and one third of an inning. The only mistake was a first inning, two-out, two-run, homer by Trevin Haseltine that floated over the right field wall. The 2-0 lead by the Sweets after the first inning would be all the runs they could manage off of Kemmerer, who quickly settled into a groove. He allowed just four more hits the rest of the way and was helped out by a stand-out performance behind the plate by catcher Joey Harris. “I have always prided myself on my defense,” said Harris. “It’s something that builds confidence for me both in the field and at the plate.” 

The Sweets came into the game with the second most stolen bases in the West Coast League but were quickly shut down on the base paths. Harris set down would be base stealers in the third and fifth innings and then saw the Sweets not challenge him for the rest of the game.  

Sweets' starter Joe Demers was equally as impressive. In his six innings, Demers struck out seven Bells batters while only walking one. But, the Bells were able to hit the righty, plating their first run in the second inning on a two out RBI single by Jesse Kuet that brought in Cole Wilstead to make it a 2-1 game. Then Demers and Kemmerer traded zeros for three innings. 

Finally, in the bottom of the sixth the Bells strung together a couple of hits off Demers. In their second two-out RBI hit of the night Andrew Reichenbach rolled a ball up the middle to bring in Walker Olis and tie the game 2-2. 

After the sixth, with both teams into their bullpen,  zeroes were once again traded. Walla Walla's Clayton Ayers preserved the 2-2 tie with two shutout innings of relief. Channing Nesbitt, for the Bells, came on in the sixth and shut out the Sweets for two frames before going out for a third inning in the ninth. 

Nesbitt struggled with control in the top of the ninth giving the Sweets a rally for free by walking two batters in the inning. A run came in when the Sweets got runners to first and third with only one out. Pinch hitter Jake Hazard then hit a soft grounder to second that brought in a run to break the tie and give the Sweets a 3-2 lead. 

In the bottom of the ninth the Bells started with patience. Andrew Reichenbach led the inning off with a four pitch walk against Sweets' closer Travis Ulvestad. Ulvestad then threw a wild pitch that allowed pinch runner K.J. Brady to advance to second. The Bells then elected to play small ball, with Cole Wilstead laying a perfect sacrifice bunt down the third base line to move Brady to third. Joey Harris stepped to the plate and took a first pitch for a ball. 

“That’s when I stepped out and talked with Coach Gange,” explained Harris. “We both were thinking "he [Ulvestad] is going to throw another breaking ball. Sure enough he did and I jumped all over it.” The ball was rocketed into the left center field gap, bringing in Brady to tie the game at three. 

Jesse Kuet then came to bat against new pitcher Jake Simmons. Kuet fell behind 1-2 but managed to even the count at two before turning on an inside pitch and tucking it fair down the third base line to bring home Harris for the walk-off 4-3 win. “I was just in the right place at the right time,” said Kuet. “My teammates battled all night long to give me that opportunity. You could see in our dugout that we weren’t afraid to be down by one in the bottom of the ninth.” 

“Wins like these really speak to the maturity of this team," added Coach Gange.  "It is a great group of guys."

On Wednesday, the Bells will have a chance for the series win against Walla Walla. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. with Hunter Haworth slated as the Bells starter. Erik Oas will be on the call at www.bellinghambells.com from Joe Martin Field with a 6:50 p.m. pregame. 

About the Bellingham Bells

The Bellingham Bells are a summer collegiate, wood bat baseball team and a member of the West Coast League.  During the months of June, July & August, the Bells compete in a 57-game season, playing home games at Joe Martin Field in Bellingham and traveling to compete with other WCL teams in Washington, Oregon and British Columbia. The Bells strive to contribute to a strong and vibrant community through affordable, family-friendly entertainment. 

Find Us

Joe Martin Field 

1220 Civic Field Way 

Bellingham, WA 98229

(360) 527-1035