For seven innings the Bellingham Bells (21-11) failed to plate a run against the Cowlitz Black Bears (14-18) but came storming back in the eighth inning to win the game 4-2.
“Really proud with how we battled tonight,” said head coach Jeff James. “With that come from behind win, we are now in a position to win this series.”
The Bells have won all but one series this year. The win is also just the second time this year the Bells have trailed after seven innings.
Callahan Neely started for the Black Bears. He hypnotized Bells hitters for his seven innings, allowing just two hits and no walks while striking out eight. Through his first four innings, Neely did not allow a Bell to reach, “He (Neely) was tough on us,” said centerfielder Aaron Stroosma. “We could never string anything together off of him.”
Stroosma was able to solve Neely in his finale at-bat in the seventh. Stroosma hit a double high off the wall in dead center but was stranded at third.
Andrew Summerville started for the Bells and pitched effectively in his longest start of the year. He worked six innings and gave up a run in the fourth inning on a RBI double by Issac Benard. It was the only earned run Summerville allowed. But the Black Bears would get another run, unearned, off of Summerville in the fifth inning when Ryan Aguilar walked to begin the inning and came around to score on a Walker Olis error in right field, making it 2-0 Black Bears.
“It’s tough to come back like we did,” said assistant coach Dane Siegfried. “We were really struggling at the plate for seven innings and you just want to reward your pitching for how well they’ve been supporting us.”
In the eighth inning, the Bells finally had an answer. Jake Hawken (2-2) entered the game and faced three Bells batters, and all three reached base. It was enough for Hawken to be removed for Camden Muller. Muller entered with the bases loaded and nobody out and struck out the first man he faced. The next batter, Dustin Breshears, brought in the Bells' first run with a ground out to first. Aaron Stroosma singled to bring in two more runs and give the Bells their first lead of the series, 3-2.
“Honestly,” Stroosma said. “When that single dropped, I was just thinking it’s about time we supported our pitching. They have been so great for us. It was time for our bats to give them some support.”
An inning later the Bells added an insurance run that stretched their lead to 4-2.
Brian Way entered for the ninth inning and set down the Black Bears 1-2-3 for his fourth save of the season.
Brice Longanecker (3-1) received the win for the Bells after a perfect inning of relief. The win is the first of the road trip and has the Bells with a five game lead atop the Western Division.
Tomorrow the Bells go for the series win behind Andrew Kemmerer, first pitch is scheduled for 6:35. Erik Oas will be on the call with a 6:20 pregame show.