The longest active winning streak in the West Coast League came to an end Wednesday night at Joe Martin Field. The Bellingham Bells (20-10) failed to plate any runs after the second inning and fell to the Cowlitz Black Bears (11-16), 4-2.
Early on, the Bells looked as though they would pound Black Bear starter Chris Castellanos (2-0). With two outs, Bronson Larsen worked a seven pitch walk to continue the inning and ignite a rally. Alex Galagno followed with a bloop single to right and Walker Olis brought Larsen home with an RBI single, giving the Bells a 1-0 lead.
But this would be a night where the Black Bears would always have an answer. Grant Schneider started for the Bells and pitched well in his four and two third innings but made two mistakes on his night. In the second inning he allowed a Jake Pavletich solo homer to tie the score at one, and in the fourth inning Schneider made a costly throwing error on a bunt down placed down the third baseline that brought in another run to tie the game at two.
Following Pavletich’s home run the Bells reclaimed their lead in the bottom of the second inning. Patrick McGrath lead off the inning with a double and would eventually come around to score on a Lou Della Fera RBI sacrifice fly. But that would be it for the Bells offense for the night.
Channing Nesbitt (1-1) relived Schneider and set down the Black Bears in the fifth and sixth inning before running into trouble in the seventh inning. Nesbitt hit Haakon Lande with one out in the inning and gave up an RBI double to pinch hitter Casey Henderson that broke the tie and gave the Black Bears a 3-2 lead.
Another run was added by the Black Bears in the eighth inning against Riley Storedahl. He gave up back to back singles to start the inning and two batters later saw Jake Pavletich drive in his second run on the night with a single, making it 4-2.
The Bells offense struggled to get anything going against Castellanos and the relievers that followed. After the fifth inning, they failed to record a hit and had just one base runner after the fifth inning which came on a ball that hit Dustin Breshears in the eighth inning.
Black Bears closer Lars Ride earned his sixth save of the year by setting the Bells down in order with two strikeouts.
The loss has put the Black Bears into second place in the Western Division, seven and half games behind the Bells.
The Bells will take tomorrow off before continuing the home-stand Friday night against the San Francisco Seals. Erik Oas will be on the call with a 6:35 pregame show, and first pitch scheduled for 7:05.