Two big innings doomed the Bellingham Bells (32-20) Friday night at Joe Martin Field as Victoria HarbourCats hitters put up a barrage of 13 hits that lead to nine runs and a 9-2 Bells defeat.
Starter Reagan Todd (2-4) was hit early and often in his four innings of work. The first pitch he threw was turned on by Kevin Collard for a double into the right field corner. Todd then got a ground ball but, Bells shortstop, Dustin Breshears committed an error putting another runner on. A.J. Alcantara followed with an RBI double and was followed by an RBI ground out from Austin Gabour.
The early 2-0 lead was quickly added to in the top of the second. Todd gave up six consecutive hits to begin the inning, leading to four runs for the HarbourCats.
HarbourCat hitters did not have one solitary stand out but instead a collection of hits from throughout the lineup. Five batters collected two or more hits and every HarbourCat in the lineup reached base at some point during the contest.
Kevin Collard did shine as the leadoff hitter for the HarbourCats. He turned in a three hit night and scored four runs while driving in two runs. Collard had the only home run for the HarbourCats, a solo shot that came in the seventh inning, his seventh of the season.
Not to be lost in a night full of offense was the starting pitching performance by HarbourCat Dominic Topoozian (6-4). For seven shutout innings he hypnotized Bells hitters to earn his sixth win of the year. He struck out eight Bells and walked just one.
Aaron Stroosma was Topoozian’s only walk issued. The free pass came in the first and Stroosma wasted no time stealing second and third to reclaim solitary lead of the West Coast League lead for stolen bases. After Stroosma was stranded at third to end the first, no other Bell would make it to third in Topoozian’s outing.
The offense that was mustered by the Bells came late. After Topoozian left, Shawn Anderson entered and worked the eighth and ninth innings. The Bells got to the right hander in the eighth inning for their first run of the nigh when Stroosma lined a single to left that brought in Lou Della Fera for his 16th RBI of the season.
Anderson stayed in to work the ninth and quickly set down the first two Bells. Walker Olis then came up and crushed the first pitch he saw over the left center field wall for his seventh home run of the season. The home run ties Olis with teammate Chase Scott for the most by a Bell in a single season. On the team’s all-time list Olis is now in first by himself with eight.
The home run would be the end of the scoring for the Bells who opened the final series of the regular season with a 9-2 loss. With a Kelowna Falcons win on Friday night, the Bells have now fallen to the third seed in the West Coast League playoff picture and would be the road team in a potential playoff match up with the Falcons.
On Saturday, the Bells will look to regroup behind starting pitcher Grant Schneider. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 and Erik Oas will be on the call at 930 KBAI with a 6:35 pregame show.