(Photo by Christian J. Stewart)
BELLINGHAM, Wash. — Harrison Spohn and Nate Pecota had two hits each, but it wouldn’t be enough as the Victoria HarbourCats (13-6/31-15) dropped the series opener 12-6 to the Bellingham Bells Friday evening at Joe Martin Field.
The game combined for 18 runs and 26 hits, as two of the WCL’s top teams in the North division battled in the second last week of the regular season. With the win, Bellingham (7-11/23-22) moved to 5.5 games of Victoria in the Second Half standings, while the HarbourCats dropped into a tie with the Wenatchee AppleSox (13-6/24-21) who walked off the Yakima Valley Pippins tonight.
Bellingham brought six men to the plate in the home half of the first, hitting three consecutive singles, and scoring twice.
The HarbourCats, however, would cut the lead in half one inning later.
Spohn led off the second with a double, and Pecota moved the Cap Baptist product to third one batter later with a single.
Tyler Petit, due up next in the order, grounded into a double that put two outs on the board but allowed Spohn to score from third.
The Bells responded with a vengeance in the bottom of the second, plating three runs highlighted by a Collin Burns RBI single. Burns finished the night with three hits and three runs.
In the fifth, Bellingham exploded for three more runs to make it a 10-1 game, before Victoria attempted a rally of their own in the top half of the sixth.
After being held to just three hits over the first five by Bells starter Cody Jensen, the HarbourCats finally got to the Stanford University native by chasing the right hander in the sixth.
Parker Bramlett led off the inning with a double, and Nick Plaia advanced to third off an error to put runners on the corners for Victoria. Griffin Paxton and Tyson Hays then hit back to back RBI singles to make it a seven run game, and that offensive spurt was enough for Bells manager Bob Miller to pull Jensen and go to the bullpen. Jensen finished with four strikeouts, six hits, and four earned runs over five innings on the night.
Even with the Bellingham starter of the game, Spohn welcomed reliever Matt Geoffrion with a RBI single, and Pecota matched his teammate with the fourth single of the evening to score Paxton from third.
Petit would be hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to score the ‘Cats fourth run of the frame, and Ty Schindel added a RBI sac-fly, before Geoffrion got out the inning with a double play.
With the score 10-6, Bellingham added single insurance runs in the sixth and seventh, and held Victoria off the board in the final three innings to clinch the series opening victory.
Victoria will look to respond in the middle game of the series tomorrow evening, first pitch is scheduled for 6:35.