Bellingham went on the road July 2nd for a 6-game road trip with a 14-7 record. If they had a successful road trip, they would win the 1st half title of the northern division. Their opponents on the road were the Yakima Valley Pippins and then the Victoria HarbourCats, who were currently the leaders of the northern division. Bellingham liked their chances as they headed to Yakima for game one on Tuesday night.
Bellingham went into Yakima on Tuesday night with their heads held high. They left scratching their heads, not knowing what had happened. Yakima had lost 9 in a row. The Bells thought they had a chance at winning this series, increasing their chances for the 1st half division title. Yakima walked away with a 5-0 win. Bellingham barely belted five base hits in the losing cause. Matt Henckel, Sophomore lefthander from Gonzaga, started the game for the Bells. He lasted five innings and gave up 3 earned runs. Brenden Argomaniz, a Freshman from Orange Coast College, made his Bells debut and gave up the other two runs. In the 9th inning, the Bells tried to rally with a 2-out triple by Freshman OF Cole Hinkleman who was from Stanford. But the rally failed, and the Bells fell 5-0 in game one of the three game series.
Wednesday night the Bells fell behind early 2-0 to the Pippins but they battled back. In the fifth inning, they plated two runs to tie it up. Christian Dicochea, Freshman from UW, drove in the first run with a sacrifice fly. Guthrie Morrison, MVP candidate from Gonzaga tied it up with a RBI single. In the sixth inning, Cole Hinkelman would plate another run to put the Bells up 3-2. Would the bullpen hold the lead? The Pippins were looking to play the spoiler as they came back to tie it and would win 5-2 to take game two.
Happy 4th of July as the Bells took the field looking to salvage the last game of the series. The Bells felt that there was no way that the Pippins would sweep the series. They had to take game 3 at least. The Bells hadn’t been swept all season. Chances were good as the game started up at 3pm that afternoon. RH Cole Tucker, Senior from Cal-Riverside, took the mound for the Bells. He would allow 3 runs in the 3rd inning to take the lead. In the 4th inning the Bells would plate one, but that would be the best comeback of the night. In the bottom of the 4th inning, the Pippins would plate 6 more runs to go up 9-1. They would stay ahead and by games end the score would be 13-4 with the Bells suffering their first sweep of the season.
With a record of 14-10, the Bells headed to Victoria. Victoria was in first place, with a 3-game lead over the Bells. If the Bells swept the series, they would take the first half title. With a loss, Victoria would be champs. Friday night was game one across the border against their rivals.
Friday night lights saw Bells’ Ace Nick Proctor, from the University of California, take the mound. Nick didn’t disappoint as he threw another quality performance. Bellingham took an early lead of 3-0. The highlight of the inning was a 2-run single by Austin Kretzschmar, from Stanford, to take the lead. Nick was phenomenal as he shut down Victoria. In the 4th inning, the Bells would plate 7 more runs to go up 10-0. Highlights of the inning were a 2-run single by Troy Viola (San Jose St.) and a 3-run blast by Jack Machtolf (Gonzaga). Proctor would go five innings giving up one hit and striking out six without allowing a run. The bullpen would take over and allow 2 runs over the final four innings. At games end, Bellingham won 12-2 to take game one of the series.
Saturday night Login Hatley, a lefty from Western Oregon University, took the mound and pitched no-hit ball until the fifth inning. Login would go six innings, striking out nine while allowing zero runs. He would allow two walks and two hits in his gem of a performance. The Bells would also go hit-less until inning six. MVP candidate Guthrie Morrison would belt a 3-run home run to put the Bells up. The bullpen would put together three scoreless innings to close out the game. Bellingham manufactured five more runs over the final three innings. At the end, the Bells walked away with an 8-0 win and game two of the series. If the Bells brought their brooms on Sunday and pulled off the 3-game sweep, they would be first half champs.
Sunday afternoon Bell Nation was excited as they were looking to watch their team sweep the HarbourCats and take the first half. C.J. Varela (Oklahoma State) took the mound for the Bells and he wasn’t his usual dominant self as he gave up four early runs. Bellingham didn’t even get a hit until the sixth inning. By game’s end, the final was 8-1 as Victoria clinched the first half champions of the northern division. Bellingham finished up 16-11 to finish two games back.
Bellingham had an amazing first half and should be excited for the next 27 games. Bellingham opens the 2nd half Monday night in at Joe Martin Field against the Walla Walla Sweets of the southern division. Walla Walla finished in 2nd place in the south as this 3-game series should be a battle of the ages. Bellingham will go back on the road this Friday July 12th for a 6-game road trip before coming back home. Please come fill those seats. It’s July in Bellingham and schools are out. There is no reason that those seats should not be filled. The Bells want to win the 2019 title and they are determined to win the 2nd half after coming so close. Hope to see you at the ballpark!