The Bells came from behind in walk-off fashion on Saturday night, with a thrilling 5-4 win over the Wenatchee AppleSox.
Bells pitching went through moments of complete dominance and through periods where they struggled to find the strike zone. For the first three innings the game flew by, both team struggling to touch the others starter.
Bells starter Reagan Todd, came into the fourth with a shutout and five strikeouts, but lost the strike zone with one on and two out in the inning. He walked the seven, eight, and nine hitters to force in the first run of the game. Then with the bases still loaded, AppleSox leadoff hitter Joey Jansen singled to bring home two runs to make it 3-0 Wenatchee.
The day ended for Todd after the fourth. Channing Nesbitt came on in relief to work the fifth. Again, the Applesox loaded the bases against the Bells and Nesbitt walked in a run, which grew the AppleSox lead to 4-0.
In the bottom of the fifth, it was the Bells' turn to benefit from the walks. AppleSox starter Kyle Blankenship, who had hardly been touched by Bells hitters, entered the fifth with a comfortable four run lead. But the Bells managed to put pressure on Blankenship without collecting a hit in the inning. The Bells tallied five walks in the frame that brought in two runs and made it a 4-2 game.
“We just didn’t give up tonight," Bells' reliever Brice Longanecker said. "You could see us struggling early on at the plate but we stayed patient and it paid off.”
Down 4-2, the pitching dominated for the Bells. Nesbitt settled down to throw a shut-out sixth inning, collecting four strikeouts on the night. Spencer Howard then made his debut with a scoreless inning of relief in which he struck out the side in order. The night ended with Bells' pitching tallying 14 strikeouts, one away from tying the team mark for a nine inning game at 15.
“It was real impressive what our pitchers did tonight,” said Longanecker, who came in the ninth. “I didn’t have my best stuff tonight but I managed to get through that inning [the ninth] and be the 'vulture’ by getting the win.”
In the bottom of the eighth, the Bells finally managed to get a run across against AppleSox reliever, Michael Taylor to make it 4-3.
“That was a big run,” explained Bronson Larsen. “At that point we really felt like we had the momentum and came in loose at the plate to start the ninth.”
The bottom of the ninth saw the Bells open things up against Taylor, who was out for his second inning. Chase Scott led off the inning with a single, Walker Olis followed with a perfectly placed bunt down the first base line that went as a single, and Andrew Reichenbach lined a single to left center to load the bases with nobody out.
Bronson Larsen came up with a chance to tie it, but the second pitch of the at-bat got away to the backstop bringing in Chase Scott and tying the game at four.
"When that ball went to the backstop and we tied it, there was less pressure on me to come up with the big hit," Larsen said. "We had the rally hats going in the dugout. We were just extremely confident."
The at-bat to Larsen went full to three ball and two strikes, when Larsen hit a soft liner to left to bring Walker Olis home for the second walk-off win of the homestand and a 5-4 win.
“I guess it’s becoming a regular thing with us,” joked Larsen, who was rushed by his teammates following the game ending single.
The Bells are now 10-4, and have already won the series versus the AppleSox, who fall to 4-7 on the year.
Tomorrow, the Bells will go for the sweep at Joe Martin Field with first pitch scheduled for 3:05 and starter Grant Schneider slated to take the ball for the Bells. Erik Oas will be on the call with a 2:35 p.m. pregame show on AM 930 KBAI.