Community Sports

Bellingham Bells set to defend title

Bellingham Bells Andrew Reichenbach, left, Cole Wilstead, middle, and Jordan Schlehuber, right, get some ground ball work in during a practice Thursday, June 4, at Joe Martin Stadium.
Bellingham Bells Andrew Reichenbach, left, Cole Wilstead, middle, and Jordan Schlehuber, right, get some ground ball work in during a practice Thursday, June 4, at Joe Martin Stadium. The Bellingham Herald

Whatcom County, summer baseball is back, and for the Bellingham Bells, there’s a West Coast League Championship to defend.

Eight-and-a-half months ago Bellingham put together back-to-back wins against Corvallis to earn the organization’s first WCL title. The club’s 41-18 record marked only the fourth time in league history a team finished with 40-plus wins.

Now attention turns to 2015. Bells coach Jeff James, back for his second year, believes he has another strong roster assembled by pitching coach Jim Clem. With it, the Bells again have high aspirations.

“It’s fun to be back, and we’re excited,” James said. “You can tell there is a good buzz around the community with how fortunate we were to put a good run together.”

The Bells open their season at home against Kitsap at 7:05 p.m. Friday, June 5, at Joe Martin Stadium.

James’ coaching success continued after his first year with the Bells. James, an assistant at Seattle University, helped the Redhawks to their best season in program history.

He’ll be looking to follow up again, and to do so he and Clem have enlisted help from some of the cornerstone pieces that brought Bellingham its title a season ago.

Maine product Lou Della Fera, Pacific University and former Burlington-Edison Tiger Walker Olis and Gonzaga University’s Dustin Breshears are a few of the Bells’ top returners.

They’ll join a fresh influx of talent with a strong blend of veterans and young players.

“Really great job, and he always does that,” said James of Clem’s offseason recruiting. “The contacts he has around the nation are just unbelievable, that type of talented guys we get in here. He has really built a good relationship with some of these schools that they trust in us and know we will do our best to take care of them, and because of that we get such quality players.”

As is custom, during the next few weeks many of the mid-season regulars will begin trickling in while their college seasons conclude, but James is relying on a solid group of 10-day contract players to help spark a strong start

Key, James said, will be the leadership he gets from some of the returning players already in Bellingham. Of those, middle infielder Breshears is certain to play a big role.

“That’s why we wanted them back, because they are leadership guys that work hard everyday,” said James of the Bells’ returners. “We got a good combination of mature guys, especially position-player wise.

Breshears is the team’s top returner in batting average (.287), finished third on the team in runs (28), third in RBI (26) and second in stolen bases (10).

“I’m really excited to be back here and to have another opportunity to play for the Bells,” Breshears said. “I mean last year, obviously, we had a really good season. A great group of guys, and to be able to win a championship, it’s kind of looking like the same atmosphere we had around the clubhouse. ... Hopefully we can bring another championship to Bellingham.”

Breshears is coming off a strong season at Gonzaga in which he was one of three players to start each of the team’s 52 games. Although the Bulldogs finished 24-28 and didn’t end their season the way Breshears would have hoped, the redshirt junior performed well.

He finished with a .260 average, 26 runs scored and an on-base percentage of .361.

Originally from Mount Si High School in Snoqualmie, Breshears began his college career at Bellevue College before transferring to St. John’s. He transferred to Gonzaga the next year and had to sit out 2014 because of transfer rules before being a major contributor this past spring.

“Just get better every summer,” Breshears said when asked what he wanted to get out of his second stint with the Bells. “That’s pretty much the name of the game with summer ball, just coming out here and competing everyday as a ball player.”

That competitive attitude is what he believes carried the Bells to their success last summer.

“Last year we just did a really good job of competing in tough situations,” he said. “We had great pitching, great defense for most of the year, and that really set us apart from most of the teams. ... Last year we had a great group of competitors.”

Whether or not that same trait reveals itself this summer is to be determined, but the second-year Bells player likes what he sees thus far.

“Last year we had a great atmosphere with the team, and I’m expecting more of the same this year,” Breshears said. “so as of now, as far as I can tell, it’s a great group of guys, so I’m excited to get the season going.”

Reach Andrew Lang at 360-756-2862 or andrew.lang@bellinghamherald.com. Read the Sports Blog at bellinghamherald.com/sports-blog. Follow him on Twitter at @BhamSports and on Facebook at WhatcomCountySports.

2015 Bells schedule

JUNE

SUN

MON

TUES

WED

THURS

FRI

SAT

1

2

3

4

5

KIT

7:05

6

KIT

7:05

7

KIT

3:05

8

9

COR

6:40

10

COR

6:40

11

COR

6:40

12

KF

6:35

13

KF

6:35

14

KF

5:05

15

16

WW

7:05

17

WW

7:05

18

WW

7:05

19

WEN

7:05

20

WEN

7:05

21

WEN

3:05

22

KEL

6:35

23

KEL

6:35

24

KEL

6:35

25

26

KIT

7:05

27

KIT

7:05

28

KIT

3:05

29

30

YAK

7:05

JULY

SUN

MON

TUES

WED

THURS

FRI

SAT

1

YAK

7:05

2

YAK

7:05

3

KIT

6:35

4

KIT

6:35

5

KIT

5:05

6

COW

7:05

7

COW

7:05

8

COW

7:05

9

10

SLS

7:05

11

SLS

7:05

12

13

COW

6:35

14

COW

6:35

15

COW

6:35

16

VIC

6:35

17

COW

6:35

18

COW

6:35

19

20

WCL

7:05

21

VIC

7:05

22

VIC

7:05

23

VIC

7:05

24

MED

6:35

25

MED

6:35

26

MED

6:35

27

28

BND

6:35

29

BND

6:35

30

31

KEL

7:05

AUGUST

SUN

MON

TUES

WED

THURS

FRI

SAT

1

KEL

7:05

2

KEL

3:05

3

4

COW

6:35

5

COW

6:35

6

COW

6:35

7

VIC

7:05

8

VIC

7:05

9

VIC

3:05

10

11

12

13

14

15

KIT

Kitsap

COR

Corvalis

KF

Klamath Falls

WW

Walla Walla

WEN

Wenatchee

KEL

Kelowna

YAK

Yakima

COW

Cowlitz

SLS

Seals

VIC

Victoria

MED

Medford

BND

Bend

West Coast League All-Star Game at Joe Marin Field

Home game

Away game

2015 Bells Roster

PITCHERS

No.

Player

B/T

Ht.

Wt.

College

Yr.

Hometown

26

Cody Anderson

L/L

5-11

170

Bellevue CC

So.

Marysville

0

Justin Calomeni

R/R

6-2

200

Cal Poly SLO

Jr.

San Jose, Calif.

39

Justin Cortney

R/R

6-5

200

Maine

So.

Bangor, Maine

23

Hunter Hasworth

R/R

6-3

190

Chico State

So.

Hollister, Calif.

1

Nate Higa

R/L

5-10

170

George Fox

So.

Honolulu

38

Justin Hooper

R/L

6-7

230

UCLA

Fr.

San Ramon, Calif.

11

Jacob Howard

R/R

6-3

200

Skagit Valley Col.

Jr.

Puyallup

0

Spencer Howard

R/R

6-2

190

Cal Poly Slo

So.

Templeton, Calif.

0

Zach Johnson

L/L

6-0

195

Central Washington

Sr.

Kirkland

7

Andrew Kemmerer

R/R

6-1

185

Central Arkansas

Sr.

Issaquah

33

Alec Kisena

R/R

6-5

265

Edmonds CC

So.

Mill Creek

25

Brice Longanecker

R/L

5-8

165

Morehead State

Jr.

Bellingham

32

Collin Maier

S/R

6-2

215

Puget Sound

Jr.

Billings, Mont.

8

Jake Marks

R/R

6-1

180

Maine

Sr.

Sarnia, Ontario

22

Channing Nesbitt

L/L

6-1

190

Washington

So.

Oakland, Calif.

29

Kyle Rossman

R/R

6-2

195

Pacific Lutheran

Sr.

Puyallup

27

Grant Schneider

R/R

6-3

205

Arizona State

So.

Austin, Texas

31

Riley Storedahl

R/R

6-2

185

Edmonds CC

So.

Olympia

37

Andrew Summerville

L/L

6-3

185

Stanford

So.

Seattle

34

Jordan Talbot

R/R

6-4

225

Cal

So.

Aptos, Calif.

28

Reagan Todd

L/L

6-3

215

Arizona State

So.

Centennial, Colo.

20

Brian Way

R/R

6-7

270

Edmonds CC

So

Sitka, Alaska

CATCHERS

No.

Player

B/T

Ht.

Wt.

College

Yr.

Hometown

12

Alex Galgano

R/R

5-9

200

Bellevue CC

Jr.

Seattle

13

Joey Harris

L/R

6-0

200

Gonzaga

Sr.

Sacramento, Calif.

9

Ben Koerner

R/R

5-10

180

Concordia

So.

Seattle

3

Bronson Larsen

R/R

5-10

185

BYU

Jr.

Fruit Heights, Utah

24

Andrew Reichenbach

L/R

6-1

190

George Fox

Jr.

Newberg, Ore.

INFILDERS

No.

Player

B/T

Ht.

Wt.

College

Yr.

Hometown

0

Beau Branton

R/R

5-7

175

Stanford

So.

Honolulu

14

Dustin Breshears

R/R

6-0

185

Gonzaga

Sr.

North Bend

0

Jesse Kuet

R/R

5-10

190

Stanford

So.

Hunt. Beach, Calif.

15

Patrick McGrath

R/R

6-3

199

Washington State

Sr.

Woodinville

16

Jordan Schlehuber

R/R

6-2

175

Utah Valley

Sr.

Aurora, Colo.

5

Ben Welch

R/R

5-11

180

Pacific Lutherna

Jr.

Woodway

19

Cole Wilstead

L/L

6-4

220

BYU

So.

Washington, Utah

OUTFIELDERS

No.

Player

B/T

Ht.

Wt.

College

Yr.

Hometown

1

K.J. Brady

L/L

5-11

164

Washington

So.

Everett

18

Lou Della Fera

R/L

6-0

185

Maine

Jr.

Colts Neck, N.J.

30

Walker Olis

R/R

6-2

175

Pacific

Sr.

Burlington

21

Chase Scott

R/R

5-11

204

Southern Mississippi

Sr.

Hampton, Ga.

36

Aaron Stroosma

R/R

6-3

205

Liberty

Sr.

Mount Vernon

COACHING STAFF

Coach

Title

Hometown

Jeff James

Head coach

Seattle

Jim Clem

Pitching coach/recruiting coordinator

Burlington

Mike Gange

Assistant coach

Marysville

Dane Siegfried

Assistant coach

Bellingham

2014 WCL Standings

EAST DIVISION

Team

W

L

GB

Yakima

35

19

Wenatchee

30

24

5

Walla Walla

28

26

7

Kelowna

14

39

201/2

SOUTH DIVISION

Team

W

L

GB

Corvallis

35

19

Bend

31

23

4

Medford

26

28

9

Klaamath Falls

15

39

20

WEST DIVISION

Team

W

L

GB

Bellingham

37

17

Victoria

25

29

12

Cowlitz

24

30

13

Kitsap

23

30

131/2

Bells season-by-season

Year

W-L

Finish

2014

37-17

Won WCL title

2013

27-27

Third in North Division

2012

32-22

Advanced to semifinals

2011

21-32

Third in East Division

2010

25-22

Third in West Division

2009

22-26

Third in West Division

2008

17-25

Fourth in West Division

2007

16-25

Fourth in West Division

2006

11-31

Eighth overall

2005

17-19

Third overall

2014 Bells statistical leaders

Batting average*

Player

Avg.

Danny Miller

.313

Scott Heath

.293

Dustin Breshears

.287

Walker Olis

.276

Dallas Carroll

.241

*Minimum 100 at-bats

Pitching wins

Player

W

Seth Martinez

6

Eder Erives

5

Aaron Sandefur

5

Dan Ludwig

4

2 players tied with

3

Runs scored

Player

R

Scott Heath

31

Dallas Carroll

30

Dustin Breshears

28

Nate Anderson

27

Danny Miller

27

ERA*

Player

ERA

Ryan McMonigle

0.76

David Bigelow

1.07

Michael Rucker

1.27

Eder Erives

1.90

Zach Johnson

1.93

*Minimum 20 innings

Home runs

Player

HR

Colby Woodmansee

5

Danny Miller

5

Scott Heath

4

4 players tied with

2

Strikeouts

Player

K

Aaron Sandefur

55

Seth Martinez

50

Dan Ludwig

42

David Bigelow

35

Zach Johnson

35

RBI

Player

RBI

Scott Heath

33

Danny Miller

27

Dustin Breshears

26

Dallas Carroll

20

Nate Anderson

19

Innings pitched

Player

IP

Aaron Sandefur

581/3

Seth Martinez

562/3

Eder Erives

422/3

Zach Johnson

42

Dan Ludwig

362/3

Stolen bases

Player

SB

Dallas Carroll

13

Dustin Breshears

10

Nate Anderson

9

Eric Webber

7

2 players tied with

6

Saves

Player

Sv.

David Bigelow

13

Hever Bueno

2

Moises Ceja

2

3 players tied with

1

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