For eight innings on Wednesday night at Joe Martin Field, the Bells (14-9) were in complete control, leading 3-0 against the Pippins (14-9). After a near disastrous ninth inning that tied the game at 3, Chase Scott slugged a no doubt two-run homer over the left field wall to give the Bellingham Bells a 5-3 10 inning win over the Yakima Valley Pippins.
“We played nine great innings tonight,” said pitching coach Jim Clem. “We gave up a big inning [the ninth] but then battled back through some adversity to win this game. These are great team wins.”
The story for the Bells through the first seven innings was their starter Andrew Kemmerer. Kemmerer suffocated the Pippins offense with seven shutout innings, on his way to striking out seven Pippins batters for a new season high.
Coach Clem said of his starter, “That was impressive. Anytime you allow just three hits, to this offense, in seven innings of work, you’ve done a great job.”
Following the Bells’ three run third inning it looked as though that would be all the pitching would need. The Bells chased three runs home against Pippins starter Mitch Yada with four consecutive one out base hits, giving the Bells a 3-0 lead.
Kemmerer was removed in the eighth for reliever Brian Way who threw a shut out inning and was then replaced by Bruce Longanecker. That’s when the Pippins bats came to life.
Longanecker opened the inning by playing a bunt single down the third base line into an extra base with a wild throw down the right field line. Three batters later the bases were loaded with just one out when David Becker singled into left to drive in the first run of the inning and ended the night for Longanecker.
Riley Storedahl entered to a 3-1 game but gave up a seeing eye single through the left side of the infield that brought in two runs to tie the game at 3. But the Bells were not out of the wood in the inning. The next batter was walked reloading the bases. Still with only one out, Storedahl got a ground ball that was turned into a double play to escape the ninth with a 3-3 tie, taking the game into extra innings.
After a scoreless top of the tenth from the Pippins, the bottom of the tenth inning began with a single by Aaron Stroosma who made his way to second on a sacrifice bunt by Jesse Kuet. The next batter, Andrew Reichenbach, lifted a pop fly to the shortstop Correy Morris for the second out of the inning. That’s when Chase Scott clobbered a 2-2 Ryan Lillie pitch to left for the game winner, 5-3.
“We preach it here in Bellingham,” said Coach Clem. “You just don’t give up. And for a guy like Chase to come through was great. You see him. He’s the first guy to arrive every day and when you work that hard good things are going to happen.”
“It felt so great,” said a smiling Chase Scott. “I’ve been hitting some balls hard but it seems like during this slump they’ve been right at guys. This time I just slowed things down put a good swing on the ball and luckily it went.”
Scott also mentioned how it felt to pick up his teammates after they had failed to bring in the game winning run. “During my slump, those guys were picking me up [Reichenbach and Kuet] and coming through to pick them up just it that much sweeter.”
Riley Storedahl (3-1) got the win for the Bells. Ryan Lillie (0-1) took the loss for the Pippins.
Tomorrow’s match up will be the deciding game of the series with a scheduled first pitch at 7:05. Grant Schneider will take the ball for the Bells. Erik Oas will be on the call at www.bellinghambells.com with a 6:50 pregame show.