With a strong breeze from the bay blowing towards home plate, any Joe Martin faithful could have told you that a pitcher’s duel was likely in our forecast.
However, what even the biggest Bells’ die-hard couldn’t predict was the fact that the home team would claim a walk-off victory for the second straight night.
After entering the game in the bottom of the seventh inning as a pinch runner, that’s exactly what Connor Mack did in a 3-2 victory, extending the Bells home-winning streak to eight.
The first sixteen batters of the ballgame were retired before Landen Kimbro collected a one-out single in the bottom of the third, representing the game’s first baserunner.
However, it was Cowlitz who jumped on the board first on Wednesday night. After Justin Armbruester retired 10 consecutive batters, the Black Bears got into the hit column with a one-out base hit to center field in the bottom of the fourth inning. A stolen base and a base hit with two outs gave Cowlitz the early 1-0 lead.
The top of the fourth inning would prove to be Armbruester’s only blemish on the day. The tall right-hander reached his pitch count, just before he could finish the top of the sixth inning. In the no-decision, Armbruester went 5.2 innings, giving up one run on three hits, while walking two and striking out eight.
Matt McLain wasted little time in the bottom of the sixth inning to get the Bells on the scoreboard. On a 1-0 count, Matt McLain found an opportune time to belt his third homerun of the 2018 campaign to tie the game up 1-1.
An inning later, Bellingham took a 2-1 lead the way the Bells have done most of the 2018 season, and that’s via small ball.
In the top half of the sixth inning, Kimbro held onto a ball after the baserunner collided with his wrist to retire the side. After being walked in the bottom of the inning with one out, Connor Mack took his place and quickly made a huge impact on the contest.
Mack wasted little time getting into scoring position, swiping second on a 2-1 pitch. With two outs, what looked like a routine ground ball to third base ended up being Bellingham’s first lead at 2-1.
The back-and-forth continued in the top of the ninth inning as Cowlitz’s catcher Dutton Elske got ahold of a 3-2 pitch off Ben Leeper to tie the game at two-apiece.
However, for the second straight night the Bells took home the victory in the final at-bat of the game.
It started with Cody Pasic, launching a leadoff double into right field. Ernie Yake ran for Pasic and was able to touch home plate as the winning run after Mack ripped the first pitch he saw all the way to the wall, taking home the victory.
Bellingham will search for the sweep on Thursday with first pitch scheduled for 6:35 pm.