In the last game of the night, Bellingham’s Post 7 team rallied their defense and beat the Spokane Bandits 4-2 Friday, July 24, at Joe Martin Field during the first day of the 2015 American Legion Baseball “AAA” State Tournament.
“That first one is always the biggest,” said coach Steve Slesk. “It was a team effort with so many big plays.”
Spokane took an early lead, scoring twice in the fourth inning. Bellingham came back with some memorable saves, allowing no more runs, and scoring twice in the sixth and twice in the seventh to take the lead and hold it.
At the top of the sixth inning, Jordan Wittenberg made it on base with a short bunt. Kyler Brudwick then hit a home run to bring them both in and score.
Kyle Little stole third at the top of the seventh and came home when Kyle Sandstrom got on base with a solid hit down into center field. Wittenberg was at-bat next and brought Sandstrom home with a base hit.
Things heated up during the eighth inning when Spokane loaded the bases with only one out. Little made a diving catch in the outfield to get the second out and prevent Spokane from making a potential comeback.
“Kyle Little made an instinctive play out there,” Slesk said. “He prevented them from making a huge potential comeback.”
Going into the second round of play, Slesk said that the team just needs to continue doing what they are doing. The state tournament is one they have been planning for all year and this first day was the result of the team’s winning expectations. The top two teams at the end of the tournament will advance to the Region 7 Regional Tournament in Cheyenne, Wyo.
Slesk congratulated his team on their ability to stay focused. Rather than letting the two runs in the fourth inning discourage them, it pushed the pitchers and everyone else to battle for the win, he said.
“Today was just a really prepared day,” said Wittenberg. “I came in, I hit, I took some ground balls earlier this morning in Lynden and I think I just came really prepared and focused for this game.”
Post 7 plays again at 7 p.m. Saturday, July 25, in the second round at Joe Martin Field.
“My plan is to get some rest, focus again, and get ready to get another W,” Wittenberg said.
American Senior Legion Baseball
At Joe Martin Field
Elimination game: Centralia vs. Spokane North Stars, 10 a.m.
Elimination game: Pacific Tech vs. Spokane Bandits, 1 p.m.
Second round: Pepsi Pak vs.Lakeside, 4 p.m.
Second round: Kennewick vs. Bellingham Post 7, 7 p.m.
Pepsi Pak 17, Centralia 0: The first game of the day went only seven innings, Centralia gave up 12 walks and there were four hit batters.
Lakeside 3, Spokane North Stars 1: Strong pitching from both sides kept this game close. Spokane had some chances for a come back late in the game, with runners on first and second, but were unable to score.
Kennewick 6, Pacific Tech 2: The game was close throughout. Pacific Tech led 2-1 into the fifth inning, when Kennewick came back to score in four consecutive innings.