The Bells’ season is coming to a dramatic finish, as they exploded in the final inning for a 5-4 walk-off win over Wenatchee AppleSox.
Kyle Stowers came up to the plate with local kid and two-year Bell Austin Shenton on second base, and crushed one over the head of the left fielder to score Shenton and make it 5-4. Shenton had just scored Ernie Yake on a ball that was inches away from being a walk-off home run to center field.
The Bells needed a win while also needing Port Angeles to defeat Victoria in order to have a chance for the playoffs in their final game of the season. Now, after eliminating the AppleSox, the Bells are counting on them tomorrow to defeat the Corvallis Knights in order for Bellingham to move on to the WCL playoffs.
The Bells really had to tear their way back into this game. After the top of the 4th inning, the Bells were down 4-0.
They were not to be denied their chance at the postseason, however. They took advantage of the opportunities they received, as Wenatchee gave them two errors and scored on them both.
In the bottom of the fourth inning, Chase Illig scored on a Stowers double after reaching on a single of his own to make the score 4-1. In the next inning, Yake slapped a single and advanced on an Austin Pinorini groundout to second base. Shenton then hit an RBI single to pull the Bells within two runs.
Meanwhile, the Port Angeles Lefties were giving the Victoria HarbourCats the fight of their lives. Port Angeles came from behind after being scored or tied four times throughout the roller-coaster game.
Down two runs in the bottom of the ninth inning, the Lefties pushed across the tying run after a hit by pitch, a single, and a two-RBI double as the Bells entered the seventh inning.
The Bells didn’t score again until the bottom of the eighth inning, when Chase Illig reached first on an error after hitting a hard ball to the shortstop. He advanced to second on a wild pitch and moved to third on a Brock Anderson groundout.
Another shortstop error for Wenatchee scored Illig on a Max Flower grounder, and pulled the Bells within one and set the stage for the most memorable ninth inning of the summer.
The Bells stormed the field, mobbing Stowers into the outfield and pouring water bottles on him. Not 30 seconds later, Port Angeles, down a run in the bottom of the 11th inning 16-15, got help from two wild pitches and a walk to win the game 17-16. The marathon of a game took a total of 13 pitchers from both teams, and four hours and 41 minutes to complete.
The bullpen shined for Bellingham in the win, with the four relief pitchers not giving up an earned run. They combined to throw the final 6 2/3 innings giving up just two hits.
Merle Rowan-Kennedy (1-2) threw 1 2/3 innings, Keenan Lum (1-2) and Trevor DeLaite (3-2) threw two innings each and combined for five strikeouts, and closer Josh Zavisubin (2-0) earned the win, collecting one strikeout and facing the minimum.
Now, the Bells turn their attention to tomorrows fixture between the Wenatchee AppleSox and the Corvallis Knights, making up a game cancelled earlier in the week due to unsafe, smoky conditions in Wenatchee from wildfires. A Wenatchee win secures a Bellingham playoff berth, while a Corvallis win secures both a Victoria HarbourCats berth.
If the Bells advance, they will play the Kelowna Falcons in the first game of the playoffs on Tuesday night at Joe Martin Field, with first pitch being thrown at 6:35 p.m. The WCL playoff format follows two best of three series, one for the North Division, one for the South Division, and another best-of-three series between the winner from each division for the championship