Another big first inning for the Bells was not enough Wednesday night at Elks stadium. The Falcons beat the Bells 6-4 to take the series and hand the Bells their first series loss of the year.
In the first two games of the series, the Bells managed to chase the Falcons starter before an out was recorded. At the start of the first inning it was more of the same. The Bells got their first two batters to reach by way of the single when Bronson Larsen homered to right center to take a quick 3-0 lead. It was the first of 12 Bells' runs to be scored in the first inning in the series.
“The first inning is a time when you can get to pitchers because they aren’t settled in yet,” said pitching coach Jim Clem. “We just needed to keep adding on and to their credit they shut us down.”
Falcons' starter Kendall Motes settled in following the first, only allowing one more run to come across in his five innings on the mound.
The Falcons' offense continued to put pressure on Bells pitching after falling behind early. In the bottom of the second inning Kelowna answered the Bell’s first inning with two runs to make it 3-2.
Bells starter Hunter Haworth worked four plus innings and kept the damage to just those two runs in the second inning. Haworth did start the fifth inning but was removed after he allowed a leadoff single to Kirby McGuire. Channing Nesbitt came on and seemed to stop the Falcon rally, first by striking out Lane LaCrone and then by picking McGuire off for the second out of the inning. Nesbitt then walked the next batter and saw Hunter Villanauva take a 1-1 pitch out into left field to tie the game at four.
Riley Storedahl came in next for the Bells working a scoreless sixth inning before running into trouble in the seventh.
The inning started with a leadoff double by Andre Jackson who moved to third on a wild pitch and scored two pitches latter on a sacrifice fly from Villanauva. The inning continued with a ground rule double from Justin Flores and a single from Max Carter. Another run came in when Justin Courtney entered from the Bells bullpen and threw a pass ball that was charged to Bronson Larsen, giving the Falcons a 6-4 lead.
The Bells had big chances in the eighth and ninth inning but failed to get a hit with runners in scoring position. In the eighth inning, the Bells got runners to first and third with nobody out but Andrew Reichenbach and Aaron Stroosma struck out, and the next batter Cole Wilstead grounded out to end the inning.
In the ninth inning, the Bells got a leadoff double from K.J. Brady who would be stranded at third after the Bells got the go ahead run to the plate before a ground ball to second from Bronson Larsen ended the game.
“We needed a big hit at the end,” Clem said. “We had our chances but you have to give Kelowna credit they made big pitches in big spots and showed why they’re a first place team. But, now we get to come home and Joe Martin [Field] is a place we play really well.”
The Bells will take Thursday off but return to action on Friday when they welcome the Kitsap BlueJackets to Joe Martin Field for the first of a three game series. Friday’s game has a scheduled first pitch for 7:05 p.m. Justin Calomeni will take the ball for the Bells. Erik Oas will be on the call at 930 KBAI with a pregame show starting at 6:35 p.m.