The Bellingham Bells defeated the Wenatchee AppleSox 4-2 on Saturday night at Joe Martin Field to advance to the West Coast League Championship. Touissaint Bythewood hit a 2-run double in the bottom of the eighth that broke a 2-2 tie, then Cameron Dayton closed it out with a strikeout in the ninth to secure the victory.
The Bells will travel to Corvallis to face the Knights on Monday evening in the championship game, as they beat the Ridgefield Raptors 5-2 in the South Division Finals to advance.
Shane Spencer gave the Bells six strong innings of one-run ball with eight strikeouts, then a bevy of Bells relievers took over before Dayton sealed it in the ninth.
The AppleSox drew first blood in the third inning, after Joichiro Oyama hit a triple, then scored on a sac fly by Xander Orejudos. Oyama led the WCL in triples, hits, runs and stolen bases throughout the regular season.
The Bells roared back in the sixth, when Willis Cresswell and Jaidon Matthews each hit singles, then Robbie Vandegrift layed down a perfect bunt to load the bases. Malcolm Moore reached first on a fielder’s choice that got Cresswell tagged out at home, but Noah Meffert followed with a grounder to short that scored Matthews. Oyama sent a wild throw to first that missed the first baseman, scoring Vandegrift and making Meffert safe in the process to give the Bells a 2-1 lead.
Steven Meier and Oyama led off the next inning with a pair of singles for the Sox, then a walk by Orejudos loaded the bases. The next at-bat, Adam Fahsel reached first on a bunt that scored Meier and knotted the game at two apiece.
In the bottom of the eighth, Moore drew a leadoff walk, then the Sox intentionally walked Easton Amundson to bring Touissaint Bythewood up to the plate. With two on and two out, Bythewood drilled the ball to the right field wall for a double that cleared the bases and gave the Bells the 4-2 lead.
“Game in my hands, I’m just thinking what’s the best way to help my team. Stay true to my approach, don’t let the moment get too big,” Bythewood said after the game. “I know we’ve been kind of slow this game, but we picked it up by the end. My team had my back, and I had my team’s back.”
Lukas Frers earned the win for his scoreless outing in a key eighth inning, and Dayton took the save. Sox reliever Jake Putnam was handed the loss for his part in the Bells’ eighth-inning rally.
The Bells will face the Knights for all the marbles on Monday at 6:35 PM. The Bells won the season series 2-1, but since this is a completely different team than the one that previously beat Corvallis, anything is on the table.