After a near miss in game one of the series, the Bellingham Bells (29-16) rebounded to do something they have never done in franchise history: sweep the Bend Elks (31-13) in a double header.
The day started with a 4-3 Bells win behind early offense and a strong pitching performance from starter Andrew Kemmerer. In the first inning of the first game, the Bells scored twice on three singles and a walk given up by Elks starter Riley Newman (1-1). Breshears lead the rally off with a single to extend his hitting streak to 10 games and came around to score on a Walker Olis sacrifice fly. Joey Harris singled in the next run of the inning for an early 2-0 Bells lead.
Kemmerer pitched effectively with the exception of a three-run third inning. The Elks got to the all-star right hander by stringing four hits together including a two run home run by Elks’ catcher Louis Wolf. The two run homer tied the game at two, and two batters later the Elks had the lead on a Cayden Grenier single, 3-2.
The Bells came back to take the lead in the top of the fifth inning by scoring twice on just a single hit. Breshears was hit and came in to score when the next batter, Aaron Stroosma, doubled to center field and motored to third when centerfielder Derrick Chapman had trouble picking up the baseball. The next pitch was dropped by Wolf and rolled to the backstop, giving the Bells the 4-3 lead.
The bullpen then came in and closed the door with shutout innings from Spencer Howard and Brian Way. Way earned his sixth save of the season with a 1-2-3 seventh.
In game two, the Bells did not have to sweat through another one run game. The offense made sure of that. In the first three innings the Bells put up a barrage of offense against Elks starter Nate Hunter (4-2), who lasted just three innings. It was the fifth game in a row in which the Bells have scored in the first inning but in the second and third the Bells put the game away for good. Four runs were scored in the second and four more in the third for a 9-0 lead.
Chase Scott capped the scoring in the third with his seventh home run of the year a three run shot to left. It was the first time a Bell has reached seven home runs in a single season and ties him with Walker Olis for the most all-time.
Adding to the avalanche of offense for the Bells was Aaron Stroosma’s 28th steal of the year that has him just one behind Grant Melker’s 2014 record for thefts in a single season.
Dustin Breshears added an RBI double in the fifth to make it 10-1 stretching his hitting streak to 11 games. The streak is the longest by a Bell this season and is just one game away from tying the team mark of 12.
Andrew Summerville (2-2) started and threw the ball very well. “The curveball has not been there for me most of the season but tonight it was,” the left-hander said of his outing. “I was working with a good slider and curveball all night,” Summerville said. Summerville used his breaking pitches to tally four strikeouts and earn his second win of the year.
Cody Anderson, Grant Schneider, and Hunter Haworth combined out of the bullpen to finish off the 11-4 win.
“This was quite an accomplishment for our guys,” said assistant coach Mike Gange. “They [the Bend Elks] have the best record in the league for a reason, and in games that had a playoff atmosphere, we were able to take two of three from them and sweep a double header. This was a tough road trip for us but we’re happy with the way we finished and to go 3-3.”
The Victoria HarbourCats lost earlier in the day which moved the Bells magic number down to four to clinch the Western Division.
The Bells will take tomorrow off before welcoming in the Kelowna Falcons for a three game series. Friday’s first pitch is scheduled for 7:05 and Erik Oas will be on the call for a 6:35 pregame show.