With a final score of 5-4, Bellingham dropped a competitively played Game One to the visiting Corvallis Knights on Tuesday, August 6th.
Strong Starting Pitching Keeps It Close
Only two of the five runs allowed were earned for the Bells pitching staff. In a 7th inning that saw Corvallis score three runs, one error, one wild pitch, and one balk aided the Knights’ offensive attack. Starter CJ Varela (5 IP, 1 ER, 3 H, 3 BB, 7 K) Started the game strong for Bellingham, and left with the Bells on top, 3-1. Matt Geoffrion (1.2 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 0 ER, 2 K) was the pitcher responsible for the beginning of the 7th-inning collapse. After a leadoff triple, Geoffrion recorded two straight outs. After a ground-rule double, Jimmy Chatfield (2.1 IP, 0 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 5 K) allowed the final two runs of the inning. With the game tied in the top of the 9th, the winning run for the Knights scored on a wild pitch.
Offense Falls Just Short
Following the disconnected pattern of Bellingham’s offense this season, the team left a runner on base in every inning except for the 5th, with two left on in the 6th. The Bells took the lead in the bottom of the 4th in a 3-run inning. Troy Viola and Jordan Vujovich both reached base to start the inning, and Cole Hinkleman scored Viola on an RBI single. Ethan Smith loaded the bases with a single of his own, and Vujovich then scored on a wild pitch. Caleb Manuel hit a sac fly to score Hinkleman to round out the scoring for the inning. In the bottom of the 7th, trailing by one, Troy Viola tied it with an RBI double. Bells baserunners reached in both the 8th and 9th, but the tying run could not be found.
With a loss tonight, paired with a win from the Wenatchee Applesox, the Bells now sit 4.5 games back in the overall standings with 5 games left to play. Although not mathematically eliminated, Bellingham will need to win its final five games, and Wenatchee will need to lose theirs. The Applesox are currently finishing the year with a surge, as they are tied for the WCL North lead, and riding an 8-game winning streak. Bellingham will host Corvallis for two more games at Joe Martin Field, before traveling to Kelowna to finish the season against the Falcons. Not being able to afford another loss, the Bells will be looking to play their very best baseball to close out the year.