The Kamloops NorthPaws defeated the Bellingham Bells 7-2 on Saturday night at Joe Martin Field to even up the last series of the regular season.

The NorthPaws scored five runs in a massive sixth inning that proved to be one of the lone bursts of offense in an otherwise low-scoring game. With the win, the Paws secure a spot in the West Coast League Playoffs, and stand as a potential first-round opponent for the Bells.

Bells starter Ryan Beitel struggled in the first inning, giving up a leadoff single to Paws second baseman Jackson Forbes on the first pitch of the game. Ty Siffermann followed with an RBI double that drove Forbes in, then Siffermann scored himself on another double by teammate Tommy Green to give Kamloops the early 2-0 lead.

In the third, Jaidon Matthews got beaned in the helmet, then proceeded to steal both second and third base to get in scoring position. Shortly after, Alex Fernandes hit a ground ball to score Matthews and get the Bells on the board.

Disaster struck in the sixth inning for the Bells, when the NorthPaws loaded the bases with no outs. A pair of ground balls scored three runs, then an RBI single by Mike Fitzsimmons and a sac fly by Forbes completed a five-run inning for Kamloops to put them up 7-1.

Bellingham tacked one more on in the bottom of the ninth, coming from a groundout by Malcolm Moore with the bases loaded to score Evan Overmars from third, but it was too little, too late.

Beitel (5-2) took the loss for giving up two early runs in the first, while Paws starter Boston Warkentin (1-1) earned the win by tossing 5.1 innings with two hits and one run allowed. The Bells struggled heavily from the plate with just four total hits, three of them coming from Malcolm Moore.

Despite the loss, the Bells are still bringing their no. 1 seed confidence into the post-season next week, even with the Paws looming as a potential opening matchup.

“I don’t think anybody wants to see us in the playoffs,” Moore said after the game. “We’re coming together real nicely down the stretch here, and no matter who we’re playing it’s going to be a fun series.

With the win, the NorthPaws improve to 26-26 on the season, 13-16 in the second half. The Bells drop to 32-20, and 13-13 in the second half. The two will play Sunday afternoon to decide the winner of the last regular season series of the summer.