On Wednesday night at Joe Martin Field, the Bells played from behind for most of the night, but never gave up the fight, eventually falling 5-3 to the Walla Walla Sweets.
Starting pitcher Hunter Haworth pitched well through his first four innings out. He struck out four Sweets batters while keeping Walla Walla scoreless through the fourth. But the top of the fifth proved to be his undoing. Haworth began the frame pitching with a 1-0 lead after Bells third basemen Chase Scott crushed a solo shot into left field in the bottom of the fourth inning.
The top of the fourth did not see the Sweets crush Haworth’s pitches for line drives. Instead, it was bloop base hits and infield singles that got the rally started. Connor Kopach started the inning for the Sweets with a bunt single, and he was followed by an infield single by Trevin Haseltine. The hit parade continued for the Sweets when Dylan Wilbert floated a single into shallow left field that brought in the first run of the inning.
A throwing error by Haworth opened the inning up for Walla Walla. Walla Walla's Matt Whitney laid a bunt down the third baseline and raced around to second after Haworth’s errant throw went down the left field line. The error chased home two more runs. When the inning finally came to an end, the Bells 1-0 lead had turned into a 4-1 deficit.
The Bells wasted no time in mounting their comeback. In the bottom of the fifth, the Bells had the first three men reach base, to load the bases with nobody out. Aaron Stroosma tapped a comeback to Sweets pitcher Easton Lucas, who threw home to prevent the run from scoring and record the first out of the inning. Jesse Kuet then stepped to the plate and lined a base hit right up the middle to bring in two Bells runners, making it a 4-3 game.
It would be the closest the Bells would get in the game. The Sweets plated another run in the top of the ninth off reliever Brice Longanecker to take a 5-3 lead. In the Bells last chance in the ninth, they managed to get the tying run on and winning run to the plate but Jesse Kuet struck out swinging to end the game.
“Once again we battled all night long,” said assistant coach Mike Gange. “This is a pesky team in Walla Walla. But, thanks to our comeback win last night, we have the chance to take the series tomorrow and that’s all we can really ask.”
The Bells will play tomorrow’s rubber game at 7:05 p.m. at Joe Martin Field as Justin Calomeni will take the mound for the Bells in his first start with the team. Erik Oas will have the call on www.bellinghambells.com with pregame action starting at 6:50 p.m.