BELLINGHAM - The Bellingham Post 7 wood-bat baseball team just can't seem to lose.
Even when Bellingham (6-0) only recorded three hits, the team still squeaked out three runs to back pitcher David Stealy's masterful perfomance in a 3-0 win over the White Rock Tritons on Tuesday, June 10, at Sehome High School.
Stealy was electric from the start while the Bellingham bats struggled.
He struck out two of his first four batters on his way to a six-strikeout, six-hit complete game shutout in his second win of the season.
"I only saw him throw once during the high school season," Bellingham coach Steve Slesk said. "The more I see him, the better I think he is. He really hits spots. He's not going to overpower people, but he's got really good stuff and he's going to be a real good pitcher for us."
Stealy credited his use of his changeup for the success on the night.
He admits he wasn't confident with the off-speed pitch during the high school year, but now that he's throwing it more, he's realizing how effective it can be.
"It was the first time I threw it (this season)," Stealy said. "It was working today."
The pitcher also got a ton of help from his defense, which came up big on three separate occasions on the night.
In the top of the second inning with runners on first and second - both got on base with hard line-drive singles - the Tritons launched a third consecutive line drive.
The runner on second saw an opportunity to give the Tritons the lead and rounded third base.
But Bellingham's right fielder Drew Lomsdalen had other ideas. After taking the line drive on the hop, Lomsdalen fired a cannon toward home plate.
Catcher Lucas Petersen didn't even have to move. He caught it at waist level and dropped the tag down to save the run.
"That was probably the best throw I've ever seen," Stealy said. "That would have been the go-ahead run, so that might have hurt our team's morale a bit."
In the top of the sixth, Petersen was involved in another great defensive play. With the bases loaded and no outs, a miscommunication by the Tritons on a squeeze play was noticed quickly by Petersen, who spotted a runner halfway down the third-base line.
He fired it to third baseman Jordan Wittenberg and a short pickle play ended with a tagout.
"That was just an easy out for us," Petersen said.
Stealy got the next batter to popup to Wittenberg and then got a Tritons player to strike out looking to get out of the jam.
Not wanting to be outdone, first baseman Davis Hampton got in on the defensive action in the top of the seventh.
A hard grounder was hit to the first-base side and looked like it could be the start of a Tritons' run, but Hampton dove to his right to knock the ball down. He scrambled to pick it up and tossed it to Stealy, who was covering first. The throw was just in time and Bellingham finished the game easily two outs later.
On the offensive side, it wasn't quite so pretty for Bellingham.
"Our hitting is not where it's going to be," Slesk said of how his team is playing right now. "I think we'll get better as a hitting club. Having Jacob Manson back from Yakima Community College back starting tomorrow (Wednesday, June 11) will help offensively."
Through the first three innings, Bellingham only had one hit - a Hampton double down the left-field line in the second inning - and left four men on base.
It appeared the struggles would end in the fourth inning after a double steal by center fielder Joey Akers and Hampton created runners on second and third with only one out.
But a failed suicide squeeze play, in which Petersen didn't drop down the bunt, left Petersen at the plate with two outs.
"It was just a little miscommunication with new guys," Slesk said. "Some high schools run safety squeezes. We don't. We run suicide squeezes all the time. He knew he made a mistake as soon as it happened."
Petersen didn't hang his head, though. Two pitches later, he made up for his mistake with an RBI single to score the first run of the game.
"I knew I made a mistake. I just couldn't let it affect me," Petersen said. "I had to help my team out."
Bellingham scored another run in the fifth inning, after a leadoff walk by shortstop Pete Pennylegion turned into him getting to third after a passed ball.
Wittenberg, who had a sacrifice bunt in the first inning, then hit a sacrifice fly to score the runner and make it 2-0.
"It's just a huge part of the baseball game. Everybody is pretty selfless with that and he did a great job of moving runners," Slesk said. "High school baseball is about moving runners and creating opportunities. We're doing a good job of that right now."
Petersen struck again in the sixth with another RBI single to score Akers from second base for the final score.
Bellingham will look to continue its undefeated season with its first league game on Wednesday, June 11, against the Lakeside Recovery.
"We'll see where we really stand tomorrow night," Slesk said.
Reach Joshua Hart by email at email@example.com or by calling 360-715-2851.
BELLINGHAM POST 7 3, WHITE ROCK TRITONS 0
White Rock 000 000 0 - 0 6 1
Bellingham 000 111 x - 3 3 1
WP - David Stealy (2-0) LP - Campagne (n/a). Highlights: Jordan Wittenberg 0-1, RBI; Joey Akers 0-2, HBP, 3 SB, R; Davis Hampton 1-2, BB, SB, 2B, R; Lucas Petersen 2-3, 2 RBI.