Bellingham took home six straight wins in six days at Joe Martin Field, following Thursday night’s 5-4 victory.
After trailing early in the contest, the Bellingham bats broke open just enough to sweep the Port Angeles Lefties, and take the season series in the process.
In the bottom of the first, Bellingham caught a break. A one-out double from Dusty Stroup, followed by a wild pitch gave Ernie Yake a chance to put on the pressure. A slow roller to first base, combined with Yake’s speed, forced an errant throw at first.
The Lefties would quickly respond in the top of the second inning, without getting a single hit. To start the inning, Chris Micheles walked the bases loaded. A sac-fly to right field, an errant throw from, and a fielder’s choice, allowed the Lefties to put up a three-spot on the board, taking a 3-1 lead.
After retiring the first two batters in the top of the third inning, Micheles loaded the bases again on a pair of singles and a two-out walk. Bob Miller signaled to Marcos Cuenca who gave Jordan Stoner an opportunity to flash some leather, making a running grab on the warning track, just steps from the wall and extra-base-hit trouble.
Bellingham’s offense rode the momentum, with one away in the bottom of the third inning. After a single by Morrison, Dusty Stroup found the gap yet again with a ground-rule double, to put the pressure on. Ernie Yake joined the consecutive hit party with a bases-clearing triple, as the Bells knotted up the contest 3-3.
Cuenca was able to pitch well out of the bullpen. However, in the top of the fifth inning, Port Angeles was able to reclaim the lead after issuing a leadoff walk. On a pickoff attempt, Cuenca’s throw ended up in right field, allowing the Lefties’ speedy Justin VanDebrake to advance all the way to third base. VanDebrake would score on the next-pitch sacrifice fly to left field.
The top of the fifth would be Cuenca’s only blemish of the day.
For the first time since the first inning, Bellingham was able to reclaim the lead in the bottom of the sixth. Zach Needham led the inning off with a walk, followed by a base knock from Matt McLain, allowing Stoner to move both runners into scoring position. In a pinch-hitting effort, Matt James found the 5-6 hole with the infield in, to tie the game up at three apiece. On a 1-1 count, Chris Jimenez sent a deep fly ball to left field and McLain was able to sneak in ahead of the tag for a 5-4 lead.
After finishing the seventh, Cuenca (2-1) finished his day allowing just one run on one hit, allowing just one person to reach via the walk, and striking out five. Peter Kemble served as the closer, with his six-out save of one-hit ball.
With the win, Bellingham continues its reign as the best team in the West Coast League. With Portland’s 3-0 win over Bend on Thursday night, the two best teams in the league will clash in Portland, Ore. The Bells currently hold a slim 0.5 game lead as the best club in the WCL.
First pitch is set for Friday at 7:05 pm.