On a picture perfect Father’s Day at Joe Martin Field, the Bells fell to the Wenatchee AppleSox 5-1. Despite the loss, the Bells took the series from the AppleSox and completed the home-stand with a 4-2 mark.
The pitching for the AppleSox settled in after a shaky first two innings. AppleSox starter Hunter Wells uncharacteristically struggled with his control through the first couple of frames, hitting two batters and walking three.
In the bottom of the second inning, they managed to cash in on the free base runners with an RBI single by Beau Branton to take an early 1-0 lead. But that would be all Wells would allow. From the third inning through the fifth, he allowed just two Bells batters to reach in three shutout innings to end his outing.
Wells was the winning pitcher for the AppleSox after Bells starter Grant Schneider struggled to get out of the fifth inning. Schneider was impressive through his first four innings, not allowing a hit and striking out six batters.
In the top of the fifth, Schneider looked to be humming along despite allowing a leadoff walk, he then set down the next two AppleSox batters. That’s when Schneider’s luck ran out. He allowed a two out single to Ryan Crowe and the next batter, Keston Hiura, doubled to bring in the first run. The double by Hiura was not without controversy, with the nets above the walls at Joe Martin Field the ball hit off the warning track and hit off the nets over the wall to come back into play. Originally, the ball was played and Ryan Crowe scored. But Bells manager Jeff James appealed and won when the umpires met and returned Crowe to third. Still, the day was done for Schneider who was relieved by Cody Anderson.
Anderson took a few batters to find his rhythm, giving up back-to-back singles that brought in the second and third runs of the inning. He would work two more innings out of the Bells bullpen allowing one more run to come across in the top of the seventh, stretching the AppleSox lead to 4-1.
The lead would prove to be enough as the Bells struggled to string anything together against the AppleSox bullpen. Colton Loomis came on first for Wenatchee and worked three shutout innings, allowing just one Bell to reach on a two out single by Jesse Kuet that led to nothing.
In the top of the ninth inning, the AppleSox added another run on a solo home run by Keston Hiura to make it 5-1. It was just the second home run of the year for the Applesox and was the first run given up by Bells reliever Brian Way this season.
In the bottom of the ninth the Bells went down 1-2-3 despite a leadoff walk of Joey Harris. Harris was erased four pitches later on a double play ball hit by Aaron Stroosma.
“We lost today, but this was an excellent home stand,” said Bells assistant coach Mike Gange. “All you can ask for is to win the series and we did that here. Would we have liked to get the sweep? ‘Sure.’ But at the end of the day we're taking a lot of confidence into our next series [against the Kelowna Falcons].”
The loss has the Bells at 10-5 on the year, still in first place in the Western Division. The AppleSox are now 5-7 on the season and in fourth place in the Eastern Division.
Tomorrow the Bells begin a three game series against the Kelowna Falcons. First pitch is scheduled for 6:35 p.m. Erik Oas will be on the call at www.bellinghambells.com from Elks stadium with a 6:20 p.m. pregame show.