Story and Photos by Christian J. Stewart (ISN)
July 18, 2015, Victoria, BC (ISN) – The Bellingham Bells scored three runs in the final two innings to break up a close one-run game and go on to a 6-2 win over the Victoria HarbourCats in West Coast League action Saturday afternoon at Sports Traders Diamond at Royal Athletic Park in Victoria.
Bellingham’s Dustin Breshears (right) touches helmets with Aaron Stroosma (left) after stroking a solo home run in the third inning of Saturday’s game (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
The win gives the 24-12 Bells the three-game sweep of the series and increases their lead over the 17-19 HarbourCats to seven games heading into the All-Star break.
Much like the first two games in this series, the game looked like it was going to be another one-run nail-biter as both Victoria Starter Henry Omana and Bellingham starter Reagan Todd were pitching effectively, with Bellingham scoring single runs off Omana in the first, third and fifth, and Victoria scoring single runs in the second and fifth.
Henry Omana got the start for Victoria and gave up three runs on six hits, while walking three and striking out six. He was tagged with the loss (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
Bellingham used the long ball to help stake their 3-2 lead with a third inning solo home-run by Dustin Breshears and a fifth inning solo shot by Aaron Stroosma, while the ‘Cats responded with runs by Ben Polshuk in the second and Nick Meyer in the fifth, both of whom had singled to lead off the innings.
Chase Lambert had a good day at the plate, with three hits in the leadoff position (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
In the eighth, Josh Walker, who came in to relive Omana in the seventh, would issue a one-out walk to Andrew Reichenbach. Reliever Shawn Kennedy would then come in and promptly surrender a single to Jesse Kuet and a two-RBI double to Patrick McGrath that increased the Bells lead to 5-2. They would add another off Kennedy in the ninth on a RBI-single from Reichenbach that scored Chris Beall who had earlier singled.
Victoria’s Griffin Andreychuk turns a double play in front of a sliding Dustin Breshears (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
It was then left to the Bells bullpen to close the deal, something they have done very effectively this season, as they are a perfect 16-0 when leading after seven innings and 18-0 when leading after eight. Those numbers would go up again Saturday as reliever Channing Nesbit pitched three solid innings of middle relief, setting the table for closer Riley Storedahl, who pitched a scoreless ninth, giving Todd the win.
Victoria shortstop Scott Jarvis makes the tag on a sliding Aaron Stroosma on this steal attempt (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
For the Bells, four different players had two-hit days to pace the 12 hit attack, including Breshears, Beall, Kuet and McGrath, while Stroosma added his homer and scored a pair of runs scored.
Victoria’s offence was led for the second night in a row by Polshuk, who had a pair of hits, a pair of walks, a run scored and a pair of stolen bases. Chase Lambert had a three-hit day in the leadoff position, while Nick Meyer and Michael Gretler rounded out the HarbourCats seven hit day.
After appearing to avoid the tag by Bellingham shortstop Dustin Breshears (top photo) Victoria baserunner Nick Meyers looks for the safe call (bottom). Unfortunately, in one of many disputed calls in this series, he was called out on the play (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
The HarbourCats will now travel to Nanaimo on Sunday for a 1:00 PM exhibition game against the Nanaimo Pirates of the BC Premier Baseball League. The Pirates are enjoying a good season this year and at 27-15 and are tied for third in the League. The Pirates are coached by Doug Rogers, father of Victoria pitcher Alex Rogers. The game will be at Serauxmen Stadium for those who want to travel up to take it in.
Game Notes: Victoria’s leading hitters Griffin Andreychuk (.340), Scott Jarvis (.316) and AJ Alcantara (.313) were all held hitless by Bellingham pitching, going a combined 0 for 12 on the day. Both teams left nine men on base Saturday. Attendance Saturday was 1,829. Game time was 3:27.