A back and forth game ended with the Bells overcoming the Bend Elks 6-5 Friday night. Justin Polzin the Bells first baseman was the hitting star tonight, he went 3-5 with a double, 3 RBI, and a run scored. And Sam Hellinger came in in the 7th inning and ended up getting the win with the three innings of shutout ball to close out the game.
The game began with starters Tyler Palm and Andrew Edwards exchanging zeroes for the first three innings and it looked like we might have a pitcher’s duel on our hands. But Bend would break up Palm’s shutout in the 4th. After getting the first hitter to ground harmlessly to first, Palm would allow third baseman Collin Runge to reach via a single to left, Runge would score two batters later on Jace Duty’s RBI single. And after the next batter singled to move Duty up to second, Jack Strunc would line a single to center to bring Duty home from second, giving Bend a 2-0 lead for the moment.
The Bells put up a run on Edwards in the bottom half of the 4th though, as the Bells would manufacture a run. Ben Welch lead off the inning with a single, and after a sac bunt and a wild pitch, would score on Matt DiLeo’s sac fly to left field, making the score 2-1 Bend heading to the fifth. The Bells would strike again for 2 runs in the bottom of the fifth. Shane Hanon led the inning off by getting plunked by Edwards, and the next batter Justin Polzin would drive him home with a double. After a couple of ground outs Welch stepped up to the plate and delivered again with a single to right to score Polzin, giving the Bells the lead heading into the 6th at 3-2.
But, the Elks would take the lead again in the 6th with a 3 spot. Gio Lopez came in for the Bells in the top of the 6th to relieve Palm, and after walking AJ Valencia George Mendazona the Bend second baseman came up and hit a homerun to left that barely escaped the reach of Shane Hanon tipping off of his glove before sneaking over the fence. A single a walk and a single would put another run on the board for the Elks who went to the bottom of the 6th leading 5-3.
But the Bells would tie it with two in the bottom half of the inning. With one out DiLeo was plunked by Bend reliever Henry Lin, and Bells’ centerfielder Landon Riker would score DiLeo from first with a laser double in the left center field gap. Two batters later Justin Polzin drove in Riker with a sharp single to left and the game headed to the seventh tied at 5-5.
Sam Hellinger came in in the 7th for the Bells and shut down the Elks in the top of the 7th and 8th facing the minimum in both innings. The Bells would come up in the bottom of the 8th looking to take the lead to close out in the ninth and a familiar name would come through for the Bells once again. After a one out double from Shane Hanon, Justin Polzin came up to the plate looking for his third RBI of the game. He roped a single into left center scoring Hanon from second to give the Bells the lead 6-5.
It proved to be all the Bells needed as Hellinger came back out for the ninth and slammed the door, giving the Bells the win in the first game of the series. Polzin had this to say about coming up big in his at bat in the eight, “It’s a big deal in my first year with the Bells to come through in a big spot for my teammates, and it is always fun to do it in front of the home crowd.” Assistant coach Dane Siegfried also had this to say about the offense breaking out with 6 runs and 11 hits, “we have been working hard in early work and really getting after out there, so it is good to see the work translate into results out on the field, especially when it comes out as a win in front of the home crowd.”
The Bells take the field again tomorrow Saturday June 11th for the second game of their weekend series against the Bend Elks at 7:05. Pre-game coverage starts at 6:35 on 930 AM KBAI with Tom Prizeman at 6:35. To purchase tickets visit http://bellinghambells.com/home/ or call (367) 527-1035.