The Bellingham Bells (25-20) used three runs in the first inning to outlast the Cowlitz Black Bears (21-24) 3-1 Thursday night at Story Field in Longview.
Starting pitcher Spencer Howard (3-1) picked up the win for the Bells, as the Cal Poly product tossed seven innings of one run baseball and fanned a career high nine to help the Bells earn the series victory with back to back 3-1 wins.
Bellingham got on the board in the first. Andru Cardenas led off the ballgame with a single and moved to second on a Shane Hanon single. Cardenas and Hanon crossed the dish on a Chase Strumpf two RBI double. After a pitch hit David Banuelos, Jake Vieth struck out and Strumpf was picked off second base for the first and second outs of the inning. But Bellingham loaded the bases following Cowlitz starter Nico Tellache issuing back-to-back walks to Danny Casals and Christian Jones. Matt Ruff capped the rally by drawing the third straight walk to bring home Banuelos and give the Bells a 3-0 lead before Cowlitz came to bat.
Tellache recorded only five outs before being pulled by the Black Bears after walking six and surrounding three runs.
The Bells did not score again on the night, but the Bellingham pitching staff, ranked third in the league with a 2.90 ERA, was able to make the three runs stand up.
Jeff Gelinas and Josh Zavisubin worked together to close out the Bells’ 10th win of the second half. Gelinas worked a 1-2-3 eighth inning while striking out one before giving way to the Bellingham native Zavisubin. The Sehome HS graduate punched out one in the ninth en route to his second save of the summer.
With the win, Bellingham returns home just one game behind the first place Victoria HarbourCats and dead even with the Kelowna Falcons in the second half Northern Division standings. The Bells will host Victoria and Kelowna for three games each on this upcoming and final home stand of the year.
The Bells take the field at Joe Martin Field on Friday, July 22, 2016 against the Victoria HarbourCats. First pitch will be thrown a 7:05, with pre-game coverage starting at 6:35 with Tom Prizeman on 930 AM KBAI and on network1sports.com/KBAI. To purchase tickets visit http://bellinghambells.com/home/ or call (367) 527-1035.