With 2019 off and running, the Bellingham Bells are happy to announce the first two editions to this summer’s team. Justin Armbruester, a right-handed pitcher and Dusty Stroup, an infielder, will return to Bellingham after helping the 2018 squad to the West Coast League playoffs.
Armbruester, a 2018 WCL All-Star and second team All-WCL selection, returns after appearing in 12 games on the mound for the Bells a season ago.
Currently a sophomore at Pacific Lutheran University, Armbruester had a dominant summer in Bellingham that saw him finish third in the league with 63 strikeouts to go along with a stellar 1.63 ERA. He finished with a 2-1 record and one save after tossing 39.1 innings in eight bullpen appearances and four starts.
“We love Justin and are thrilled he’s returning for 2019. He’s a top notch kid, a great teammate and a very solid athlete. He has terrific command and control and the ability to strike a lot of guys out,” Bells’ general manager Stephanie Morrell said. “We are excited for his return not only because he will be a great asset to our pitching staff, but also because he will be a great addition to our clubhouse in modeling what it means to be a Bell.”
Before coming to Bellingham, Armbruester was used often in his freshman season at PLU. He led the Lutes with 62 strikeouts, finished second on the team with 66.1 innings pitched and had a 5-3 record with a 5.02 ERA.
The six-foot-three-inch Armbruester hails from Sammamish, Wash. and is a graduate of Eastside Catholic School.
Stroup, who appeared in 49 games for the Bells last season, is set to travel cross-country again this summer from Missouri Western State University.
The six-foot-three-inch Lee’s Summit, Mo. native was one of the Bells’ top infielders last year, batting .253 with a homerun and 22 RBIs. He also paced the club with 25 walks.
“Dusty is a tremendous athlete and was a great addition to our 2018 roster,” Morrell said. “He is a versatile position player who can serve a lot of needs, and a guy who finds a way to make things happen at the plate. We couldn’t be happier that he is returning for another season.”
Stroup is in his junior year at MWSU where he was an All-MIAA second team selection in 2018. He was a big bat for the Griffons, driving in a team-high 44 runs. He hit .309 with seven homeruns and 13 doubles, and was quite durable, starting each of the team’s 53 games.
Armbruester and Stroup will kick off the 2019 season with the rest of the Bells on June 4 against the Kelowna Falcons at Joe Martin Field.