Pitching dominated in the series finale Sunday afternoon between the Kitsap BlueJackets (9-9) and the Bellingham Bells (13-8). Both starters did not allow a runner to reach until the fourth inning, but the Bells outlasted the BlueJackets in 10 innings, winning 2-1.
“It’s kind of crazy to think,” said Bells shortstop Dustin Breshears. “But we now have three walk-offs on the year and that shows that we can battle back.”
Early on it seemed like the game just wouldn’t end because of the pitching. Kyle Rossman started for the Bells and turned in his best performance of the season. He went seven plus innings, the most by a Bells pitcher this year, and struck out three while getting a no decision.
“I was really happy that I could come and pitch the way I did,” said Rossman. “I made one mistake [a solo homer] when I was getting too predictable and that was it.”
The only run that Rossman would allow was a solo shot by Spencer Dunlap that tied the game at one in the fifth inning. Dunlap coming into that at-bat had not collected an extra base hit.
“It kind of stinks hearing that, that was his first extra-base hit,” said Rossman, smiling. “But that’s baseball."
The only run that the Bells managed to plate in regulation was an unearned run in the bottom of the fourth inning. “As good as Rossman was for us, that’s how good [John] Oltman was for them,” said assistant coach Mike Gange of the Kitsap starter.
Oltman, threw seven strong innings allowing just the one unearned run and tallying seven strikeouts.
From the seventh inning on it was a battle of bullpens.
It seemed as though the Bells' bullpen would be the first to blink in the eighth inning. The BlueJackets got runners to second and third with only one out and pinch hit their hottest hitter, Tyrus Greene to break the 1-1 tie.
On the second pitch of the at-bat, Bells reliever Riley Storedahl got a high chopper off of home plate that catcher Joey Harris fielded in fair territory and applied the tag on Greene for the second out of the inning. One batter later, Kyle Nobach grounded out to end the threat.
In the tenth, the Bells loaded the bases off of BlueJackets closer Joe Galindo with one out. Tyler Gartner came on to work to Dustin Breshears with the BlueJackets bringing the infield in. Breshears on the second pitch of the at-bat lined a single to left to bring in Joey Harris for the winning run.
The win for the Bells increases their lead atop the Western Division to two and a half games.
The Bells will take tomorrow off before returning to action at Joe Martin Field on Tuesday against the Yakima Valley Pippins. Game time is set for 7:05 with Erik Oas on the call at www.bellinghambells.com with a 6:50 pregame show.