On a rainy night north of the border, the Bells fell flat in a 13-9 loss to the Kelowna Falcons. It was the first time that the Bells have dropped a series opener this season.
When the game started, the pre-game rain had stopped and the Bells came racing out of the gate with four first inning runs. Falcons' starter Tyler Gillies was unable to record an out, hitting the first batter he faced, Beau Branton, and then surrendering three consecutive hits. Bronson Larsen delivered the knockout blow for Gillies’ night, a double into straight away centerfield that brought in two runs.
The Falcons called on Jayse Bannister to finish the inning. He did much more than finish the inning; he went six innings without giving up a run. The zeros put up by Bannister allowed the Falcons offense to climb back into the game.
Andrew Summerville stared for the Bells but came in with a pitch limit. “We’re looking for five innings out of Andrew [Summerville]," manager Jeff James said before the game. "We don’t want to push it this early in the year.” Summerville pitched well, but worked in some long counts that prevented him from going further. He was out after just three shutout innings.
Brice Longanecker was called on out of the Bells bullpen but he quickly got in trouble, hitting the second man he faced and then allowing a single to Grant Meylan. That’s when the Bells defense committed their first error of the night, bringing in the second run of the inning. The Falcons scored five more runs in the fifth inning to take the lead 7-2.
The night was a tough one for the Bells infield. They committed seven errors on the night, the most by the Bells in a single game in team history.
“There’s no excuse,” said pitching coach Jim Clem. “We committed a lot of errors, but had a lot of other things go wrong. Our bullpen was really depleted by some illnesses and last minute passport troubles.”
Despite a deep deficit, the Bells managed to battle back, scoring two runs in the eighth inning after being down 13-4. With the score at 13-6, the Bells strung together four straight hits when they were down to their final out. The last of the hits, a single by Beau Branton, brought in the third run of the inning and put the tying run in the on-deck circle. Despite a valiant effort, the Bells were unable to even the score and Kelowna took game one, 13-9.
“That was something we were really proud of,” said Coach Clem. “Our offense was good tonight and that’s the positive we will take into tomorrow’s game.”
The loss drops the Bells to 10-6 on the year while the win for Kelowna improves their record to 9-4.
The Bells are right back at it tomorrow with game two at Elks Stadium. First pitch is scheduled for 6:35 p.m. Andrew Kemmerer will take the ball for the Bells. Erik Oas will be on the call at www.bellinghambells.com with a 6:20 pregame show.