Bellingham’s nine game win-streak was snapped on Friday night in an uncharacteristic outing from the best pitching staff in the West Coast League.
Coming into the contest, Bellingham was only allowing 2.34 runs per game, only the Portland Pickles had a sub-3.94 ERA in the league.
However, the Bells staff didn’t have its best stuff in a 10-4 loss to Kelowna on Friday night.
The Bells were forced to play from behind, an uncommon feat when Theron Kay takes the mound for Bellingham.
Kay cruised through the first five batters he faced, but after a two-out walk, Kelowna knocked a two-run homer off the bat of Dan Pruitt.
Theron Kay has been a workhorse all season, only allowing one run in 15 appearances. However, Kay couldn’t find his mojo giving up two more runs in the bottom of the third inning.
Kelowna extended its lead with Matt McLain’s fielder’s choice on a weak ground ball to second. The Falcons scored their second run of the inning on a ball which got away from Landen Kimbro at first base, extending its lead to 4-0.
Bellingham’s newest member, Trey Tiffany, was met head on with Kelowna’s powerful offense. Struggling with his command in his first appearance of the 2018 campaign, was something the Falcons took full advantage of.
A pair of lead off walks followed by a single gave Kelowna their first run in the top of the fourth. With one out in the inning, the Falcons blew the inning wide open with a three-run homer. A walk and an RBI single later, gave the Falcons a 9-0 lead, and brought an end to Tiffany’s day.
The Bells responded in the bottom of the inning right away. Ernie Yake drew a lead off walk and Zach Needham followed suit after getting hit by a pitch. Dusty Stroup collected an RBI double and Jordan Stoner grounded into an RBI fielder’s choice to chip into the lead 9-2.
Bellingham made a little bit of noise in the bottom of the sixth. With a pair of singles from Stoner and Connor Mack to start the inning off, Landen Kimbro made it three singles in a row to tack another run on the scoreboard.
Kelowna was able to add one more insurance run in the top of the ninth inning on a two-out solo homerun off the bat of Pruitt, once again to give Kelowna a 10-3 advantage.
The Bells didn’t quit, even down to their final out. The squad was able to put together one more run on Yake’s fielder’s choice to score McLain.
Bellingham will have three more stabs at Kelowna, who is in a strange position, vying for a playoff spot.
If Kelowna has any shot at making the postseason, they will need Bellingham to take home the best second half record in the WCL North, and they need to have the second-best record in the division. The Bells have already clinched a playoff spot and first-round home field with the best record in the first half of the 2018 summer campaign.
The only way Kelowna can do that is with a lot of help, which include losing to the Bells at least once in the next three games.
With the playoff picture in all sorts of a jumble, the Bells will look to move past Firday night and take a pair of wins tomorrow, in a double header.
First pitch of game one will take place at 3:30 pm, with game two and fireworks to follow the first game.