The Bellingham Bells have had some of the best pitching in the West Coast League this season, but they ran into trouble Wednesday night, July 16, against the Victoria HarbourCats as the Bells lost 5-3.
The HarbourCats (14-19) put the pressure on the Bells staff by getting a runner in scoring position in each inning, drawing nine walks and stealing eight bases.
Bells pitchers managed some escape artistry by stranding 15 runners to keep within striking distance, but it ultimately was not enough as the Bells ended their five-game win streak. The Bells have won 19 of their last 21 games.
Burk Fitzpatrick (1-1) took the loss for Bellingham after allowing two runs in the top of the ninth.
Sean Watkins picked up the win for Victoria, throwing 2 2/3 innings with three strikeouts and a walk.
Starting pitcher and newly-named Victoria all-star Alex Rogers got a no-decision, but kept the Bellingham bats offbalance early, allowing two runs, six hits and striking out five.
Bells starting pitcher Grant Goodman threw 35 pitches in the first inning, though he did not allow a run after getting out of a bases-loaded jam. He left after four innings and 83 pitches of work, allowing one run on five hits.
Danny Miller put the first run on the board for the Bells in the bottom of the sixth inning with an RBI dunk-shot single just in front of oncoming center fielder Nathan Lukes to score Lou Della Fera, who legged out an infield base hit to start the inning.
The Bells matched offense with Victoria in the seventh and eighth innings, each time putting up one run to keep the game even.
After Ian Yetsko hit a seeing-eye single through the left side in bottom of the seventh inning, Della Fera laced a single to left to score Yetsko from second, which knocked starting pitcher Rogers out of the game.
The Bells wore special camouflage hats for Salute to Armed Forces Night.
The Bells play the Corvallis Knights next at 7:05 p.m. Thursday, July 16, at Joe Martin Stadium.
Reach Jeffrey Graham at Jeffrey.email@example.com or call 360-756.2862.
VICTORIA 5, BELLINGHAM 3
Victoria 001 000 112 - 5 11 3
Bellingham 000 001 110 - 3 9 0
WP: Sean Watkins (2-0). LP: Burk FitzPatrick (1-1). Highlights: Lou Della Fera 2-4, RBI, R; Walker Olis 2-3, Danny Miller 1-4, RBI, R.