18-year-old Chase Strumpf had two homeruns in his first two at bats in his first ever road playoff game.
The Bellingham Bells, thanks to Strumpf’s five RBIs in first two innings, defeated the Victoria HarbourCats 12-1 Wednesday night in Victoria.
Bellingham got on the board in the first. Shane Hanon singled and came around to score on a two run homerun by Strumpf. Bells led 2-0 before Victoria came to bat.
Bellingham hung another crooked number in the second. Gunnar Schubert and Austin Shenton walked to begin the rally, and Matt DiLeo bunted them over. Danny Casals and Andru Cardenas both singled to bring home the runners and both men scored on Strumpf’s second longball in as many innings. Bellingham led 7-0 after one and half innings.
Bellingham padded their lead in the top half of the third. Schubert walked and came around to score on a Shenton triple. Shenton completed the threat by scoring on a wild pitch. The Bells led 9-0.
Tyler Palm earned the start for Bellingham and the Oakland product allowed one run in four and two third innings on the hill to help lead the Bells to a series victory.
Cardenas crossed the plate in the fifth inning for Bellingham, as the Chico State Wildcat doubled and scored on a David Banuelos single. Bellingham led 10-0 before the HabourCats crossed a run.
Jeff Gelinas, Joey Matulovich, Josh Zavisubin and Sam Hellinger worked together for Bellingham to shut the door, not allowing a run. The Maine Black Bear, Gelinas, tossed an inning and one third while fanning one. Matulovich dealt one inning of shutout baseball before giving way to Sehome graduate Zavisbuin who pitched a scoreless eighth. Hellinger finished out the Bells second straight victory to close out the series.
Thanks to two more runs in the sixth, the Bells won 12-1, and will now face Corvallis. The Knights won four of the six meetings on the season and advanced to the championship thanks to sweeping Yakima.
Bellingham will begin a three game playoff series with Southern Division champions, the Corvallis Knights, on Saturday August 13th at Joe Martin Field with pre-game coverage starting at 6:35 with Tom Prizeman on 930 AM KBAI and on https://network1sports.com/station/kbai. The series will continue in Corvallis Monday and Tuesday to determine the winner of the best of three series. To purchase tickets visit http://bellinghambells.com/home/ or call (367) 527-1035.