The Bellingham Bells defeated the Yakima Valley Pippins 14-1 in Game 1 of the WCL North Divisional Playoffs. Bellingham out-hit the Pippins 23-4, and scored in every inning but two. The 23 hits were a season-high for the Bells, and the 13-run playoff victory was the largest in franchise history.
Yakima scored their lone run in the top of the 1st to take a brief 1-0 lead. Bells’ starter Tommy O’Rourke (4.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 R, 2 BB, 8 K) allowed the first two baserunners to reach, and both advanced to scoring position on a groundout. Willie Lajoie scored one with an RBI single. O’Rourke then walked the bases loaded, but struck out back-to-back batters to escape the jam. He ended the night with a season-high 8 strikeouts. Trevin Hope (5.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 5 K) earned the win and locked down the game in a dominant relief effort. The duo combined for a 4-hitter with 13 strikeouts.
Bellingham promptly tied the game in the bottom of the 1st. Bennett Lee led off with a double, and Luis Aviles scored him on an RBI single to make it 1-1. Cody Schrier led off the 2nd with a single, advanced to third after back-to-back groundouts, and scored on a wild pitch. Nick McLain and Aviles drew back-to-back walks, and they were scored on back-to-back singles from Cole Hinkelman and Malakhi Knight.
Daniel Gernon scored Schrier in the 3rd on an RBI triple, and Lee scored him on an RBI single. Schrier then scored two more on an RBI double in the 4th. After four innings, the Bells led 8-0 with 11 hits.
The Bells got the fireworks started with a 4-run 5th inning. Luis Aviles blasted a 2-run moonshot HR over the left field wall, scoring McLain. On the very next pitch, Cole Hinkelman unloaded on a 436-foot home run to center field. The HR was, unofficially, the longest home run hit in the entire WCL this season. Cody Schrier added another RBI single to cap the inning.
The final two runs came in the 7th inning. Schrier muscled a home run to left field to make it 13-0, and McLain added an RBI single.
Check out the box score below for the full stats of the big Game 1 victory:
Bellingham will travel to Yakima for Game 2 tomorrow, Sunday, August 15th. First pitch is set for 7:05 PM. This is a best-of-three series, and Game 3 will be on Monday (if necessary).