The Bellingham Bells defeated the Victoria HarbourCats 8-3 on Thursday night in Joe Martin Field to avoid the sweep. The Bells received a shorter outing from ace Trevin Hope than expected, when he exited the game after four innings, but their bats came through with eight runs to secure the win.

The Cats loaded the bases in the second for John Ceccoli, who scored Tyler Pettit on a groundout to second to give them an early lead. Things went downhill for Victoria in the third, when they were forced to remove starter Andre Duplantier after he gave up four runs while recording only one out. Five Bells batters were walked in the inning, three of them with the bases loaded to walk in a run, and Malcolm Moore added an RBI single to cement a four-run third for Bellingham. 

A pair of errors by the Bells to start the fourth put runners on first and second for the Cats, then Tanner Haney capitalized and hit a 2-run double to get them within one. The Bells countered in the bottom of the inning with runners on the corners, when Noah Meffert got his first RBI of the season with a sac fly to left to score Jaidon Matthews, leaving the game at 5-3.

Cameron Dayton got beaned to leadoff the bottom of the sixth for the Bells, then Alex Fernandes came in to pinch run and stole second. Colin Blanchard pushed a single just past the infield to put runners on the corners, and Meffert followed with an RBI single up the middle to score Fernandes. Afterwards, Touissaint Bythewood hit a single to score Blanchard, then Meffert scored when Bythewood was caught trying to stretch it into a double, extending the lead to five runs.

Christopher Foster closed out the game in the ninth, but found himself with runners on second and third with no outs. He continued to strike the next two batters out, then got the third to pop up into the infield to end the game.

“These guys [The HarbourCats], they played good the last two games, and kind of gave it to us,” Foster said after the game. “The command started getting a lot better after those first two batters and it clicked. I felt like I just had to find a way, cause if I didn’t Carlos [Arroyo] would have gotten me.”

Lukas Frers (1-0) picks up the win in his first outing of the season for the Bells for his two scoreless innings pitched in the fifth and sixth. Cats’ starter Andre Duplantier II (3-2) takes the loss, after being unable to make it out of the third inning with four earned runs allowed.

With the win, the Bells improve to 31-19, and an even 12-12 in the second half. The Cats fall to 24-27, and 13-12 in the second half, as the race for playoff seeding heats up in the North. With three games left in the season, the HarbourCats find themselves half a game out of first place in the second half. 

The Bells will host the Kamloops NorthPaws Friday night with Shane Spencer making the start to kick off the last regular season series of the year.