The Bellingham Bells beat the Victoria HarbourCats, 12-2, last night at Royal Athletic park to take a 1-0 lead in the teams’ best of three series.
Bells starter Nick Proctor turned in his best start of the summer and was backed up by an offensive outburst to power the Bells to their first win since June 30.
The Bells got the scoring going early on, plating three runs in the second inning to set the tone. Bellingham’s first three batters of the inning reached base, but the team could not come through with the bases loaded until there were two outs. Then, an error on a Collin Burns ground ball scored the first run, which Austin Kretzschmar followed with a two-run single to take a 3-0 lead.
Proctor then shut Victoria down for each of the next two innings before the Bells staked him a ten-run lead in the fourth.
They scored seven runs in the inning, again starting things off by loading the bases with no outs. Kretzschmar proceeded to single in Nick DeNicola, and then Guthrie Morrison walked with the bases loaded to make it 5-0. The next batter, Troy Viola, singled in two more, setting up a two-on, no out situation for Jack Machtolf. He launched a three-run homerun, that snuck just inside the right field foul pole, to take a commanding 10-0 lead.
Proctor would again blank Victoria in the fifth, before Will Armbruester took over for him in the sixth. Proctor tossed five scoreless innings, allowing just one hit. He walked two and struck out a season-high six batters.
After a scoreless bottom of the sixth from Armbruester, the Bells added to their lead with another Morrison bases-loaded walk in the seventh to make it 11-0.
The HarbourCats pushed across two runs against Armbruester in the bottom of the seventh on a passed ball and a groundout, but that wouldn’t be nearly enough as Armbruester shut them down for the remainder of the ball game.
Bellingham tacked on their final run in the eighth when Derek Marshall singled in Cole Hinkelman to extend the lead to 12-2.
With the win, the Bells need two more victories over the HarbourCats to clinch a spot in the West Coast League playoffs as the WCL North first half champion.
Game two will take place tonight beginning at 6:35 p.m. at Royal Athletic Park.