Bells Looking for a Spark as the All-Star Break Ends: Big 3-Game Homestand Begins July 27th

Posted by

The Bellingham Bells welcomed the Walla Walla Sweets to Joe Martin Field on Monday night July 8th to open a 3-game series.  Bellingham was looking to start off the 2nd half of the season on a “Sweet” note after just coming up short of the first half title.  Walla Walla had the same goal as the Bells, to start off the 2nd half in winning style in hopes of winning the 2nd half title.  Monday night the gloves were off as both teams went to battle.

The game would be close from start to finish, but the Sweets came up short as they plated only one run on four hits as Bellingham pitching dominated the entire game.  The final score at Joe Martin Field was 4-1 as the Bells started off the 2nd half with the victory to go (1-0).  Matthew Henckel was the starting pitcher for the Bells.  The Sophomore from Gonzaga, pitched four plus innings allowing one run on three hits.  Henckel ran his record to 2-0 on the season and lowered his E.R.A. for the summer to 2.17.  Pitchers Cody Jensen (Stanford) and Danny Garcia (Stetson U) pitched the remainder of the ballgame allowing zero runs on one hit, an absolute masterpiece by the both.  The star of the game on offense was Freshman DH Christian Dicochea (University of Washington).  He went 2-4 at the plate driving in three runs in the process.

Tuesday night, both teams came out slugging from the gate.  Bellingham scored 4 early runs to knock the Sweets starter early from the game.  Bellingham led the ballgame up until the 8th inning, but with the collapse of the bullpen and with mental mistakes on defense, Walla Walla plated 5 runs over the final two innings to take game two of the series.  The Bells record fell to (1-1) for the 2nd half of the season.  Stars of the ballgame were only on offense.  Collin Burns (Tulane) had three hits on the evening and drove in two Bells.  Nick DeNichola (Oklahoma State) also had three hits.  Bellingham had 14 hits on the night but also left 12 runners on base.  The opportunities were there but the conversion didn’t happen when needed.

Game three was scheduled for Wednesday night, July 10th.  On a rare July evening, the game was cancelled due to rain (something that doesn’t happen usually in July).  The game will be rescheduled only if needed.

Bellingham traveled to Wenatchee on Friday the 12th to open a 3-game series versus the AppleSox.  Nick Proctor (California) was his usual dominant force as he pitched six inning and allowing one early run in the first inning.  Proctor also struck out 4 AppleSox ballplayers.  Jimmy Chatfield (Yale) took over in the 7th and gave up a rare run for the Bells.  Jimmy had been un-scorable all summer long for the Bells until Friday night as the AppleSox took a 2-0 lead.  Bellingham never gave up as they headed to the 8th inning.  Jack Machtolf (Gonzaga) hit a sacrifice fly plating Troy Viola (San Jose State) to open the scoring for the Bells.  Derek Marshall (New Mexico) would then plate the 2nd run with a RBI single scoring Jordan Vujovich (Oklahoma) to tie the ballgame.  In the 9th inning Danny Garcia would allow the AppleSox to walk-off the ballgame on a suicide squeeze bunt to end the ballgame with a final score of 3-2.  Bellingham would see their record drop to (1-2) after such a tight ballgame.  It was a great ballgame that both teams deserved to win.  Hats off to the AppleSox for executing that bunt at the end of the ballgame.

Game two was on Saturday night.  Wenatchee took the early lead 2-0 but the Bells battled back.  Jake Gentry, a Sophomore from Fresno State, belted a solo home run for the Bells to cut the lead to one run.  Guthrie Morrison (Gonzaga) would score the 2nd run on a RBI ground out by Jordan Vujovich.  The AppleSox once again took the lead 3-2 but the Bells didn’t give up, plating four runs in the 4th inning to go up 6-3.  Derek Marshall would hit a 2-run home run to put Bellingham up 4-3.  Jake Gentry would hit a RBI double and Guthrie Morrison would hit a sacrifice fly to round out the scoring in the 4th inning.  The pitching of the Bells would not hold up as the AppleSox came right back to score four runs to go up 7-6.  It was a see-saw battle the entire game.  Bellingham would later score two more runs to go up 8-7, but it wasn’t enough.  Wenatchee continued to score and at games end, they won the ballgame 10-8.  Bellingham dropped to (1-3) as they looked to Sunday to salvage one win for the series.

Sunday evening Bellingham showed up to the ballpark looking for a win.  At the end, the final score wasn’t in their favor.  The AppleSox dominated the entire ballgame and won 8-3.  The only highlight for the Bells was a solo home run for Troy Viola, his sixth of the season.  He currently is tied as the league leader in the West Coast Conference.  Bellingham lost their 4th game in a row (their longest losing streak of the season) and saw their record fall to (1-4).  This was only the 2nd time this season that Bellingham has been swept by the other team.

After a day off, the Bells opened up a 3-game series on Tuesday the 16th of July against the Portland Pickles.  Matthew Henckel took the mound for the Bells looking to continue his amazing summer.  Apparently the Pickles disagreed as they plated five runs off Mr. Henckel as they handed him his worst outing of the summer.  Derek Marshall belted a RBI single late but it wasn’t enough as the offense was dormant the entire game.  Bellingham fell to (1-5) as their losing streak reached five games.

Game two was on Wednesday night.  Bellingham was looking for a break, something to stop this losing streak.  Bellingham opened up the scoring in inning one.  Troy Viola hit a RBI single as the Bells went up 1-0, was this what they needed?  Brenden Argomaniz, Freshman pitcher from Orange Coast College, took the mound for the Bells.  Could he stop the Pickles?  The answer was no as he couldn’t make it through 4 innings, allowing three Pickles to cross the plate.  Bellingham tried to rally in the fifth inning plating one run, but it wasn’t enough.  Portland would continue to score and at game’s end, the Bells (1-6) saw their losing streak reach six games with a loss of 7-3.

Game three was on Thursday night as the Bells were looking to avoid a 2nd consecutive sweep.  In perhaps the most exciting game of the series, both teams battled back and forth but by the end of the game Bellingham sadly ran out of runs.  Portland took the game 14-12 to sweep the series as Bellingham fell to (1-7).  Bellingham took an early 3-0 lead in the first inning.  Troy Viola belted his league leading 7th home run, a 2-run shot, to close out the scoring.  Later, in the third inning, the Bells plated two more runs to go up 5-1 (Portland scored a run earlier in the ballgame).  Jordan Vujovich and Derek Marshall had RBI hits in the inning.  Both teams continued to score runs and by the end of the fifth inning Portland had a 9-7 lead after scoring four runs in the fifth to take their first lead.  Bellingham wasn’t done though, tying it up in the 7th inning at nine runs a piece on RBI singles by Jack Machtolf and Danny Martin (Stetson U).  In the top half of the 8th inning, Bellingham scored three more runs to go up 12-9.  Derek Marshall hit a 2-run single and Jack Machtolf belted a double to round out the scoring.  Bellingham’s confidence was short lived though as the the Pickles plated five more runs in the bottom of the 8th to round out the scoring.  Bellingham failed to score in the 9th inning and fell to the Pickles 14-12.

Friday night July 20th, the Bells returned home to take on the Wenatchee AppleSox, a rematch from the debacle in Wenatchee a week earlier when they got swept by the AppleSox.  Bellingham ace pitcher, Nick Proctor, took the hill for the Bells who were looking to stop their losing streak.  With Nick on the mound, they liked their chances.  Proctor pitched another masterpiece, for six innings anyway.  Bellingham plated 3 early runs over the first six innings as Proctor was throwing a 2-hit shutout, striking out seven AppleSox in the process.  In the 7th inning, Nick ran into his first trouble all evening.  The AppleSox quickly loaded the bases with no outs.  That was the end of Proctor’s evening as he left with a standing ovation from the Bells’ fans.  Pitcher Danny Garcia came in and just like that, allowed all those baserunners to score.  By the time they secured the third out of the inning, the AppleSox had taken the lead 5-3.  Bellingham went down quietly in the 7th inning as perhaps they suffered from shock after what just happened.  The AppleSox went scoreless in the 8th inning.  Bellingham had the league’s leading home run hitter Troy Viola coming to the plate in the bottom of the 8th as the Bells quickly rose to the occasion.  Troy Viola didn’t disappoint!  Guthrie Morrison was on base when Troy came to the plate.  He quickly tied it up with a 2-run moon shot to left field.  The Bells weren’t done yet.  They plated two more runs to close out the scoring, including a sacrifice fly by Jordan Vujovich to put them ahead 7-5.  John Kelly (Oklahoma State) came in to pitch the 9th inning and he secured the save and finally a victory for the Bells!  Bellingham saw their record go to (2-7) on the season.  A great win for the struggling ballclub.  Stars of the ballgame were Troy Viola who belted his 8th home run of the season.  He is currently putting up MVP numbers with a .328 average and 27 RBIs, along with the 8 home runs.  Nick Proctor, despite the bullpen tacking on 3 runs to his ERA, currently has a 4-1 record with a respectable Greg Maddux ERA at 1.81, quite an impressive showing this summer for the young kid.

Saturday night the Bells continued to seek another win and continue their new streak!  Gabriel Hughes, a Freshman from Gonzaga, took the hill for the Bells.  He would pitch a no-hitter until the fifth inning!  He would be pulled after 5 plus innings without giving up a run and allowing only one hit while walking two.  A dominating performance by the young man.  Bellingham would plate three runs in the first to take an early lead.  Jordan Vujovich would hit a 2-run double and Derek Marshall would drive in another run with a RBI groundout.  The lead would increase to 4-0 after five innings.  Four Bellingham Bells pitchers would close out the game as the AppleSox would make it interesting.  In the end, the Bells pulled away with a 4-2 victory and increased their 2nd half record to (3-7) on the season.

Sunday afternoon, July 21st,  the Bells had trouble closing out the series with a victory.  Wenatchee won the game 5-2.  C.J. Varela (Oklahoma State) pitched five innings and allowed two runs, but his strong performance wasn’t enough.  The Bells left 11 runners on base and failed to move the runners along when needed.  In the end, the bullpen allowed three more runs over the final four innings.  The AppleSox were too much for the Bells on Sunday.  Bellingham fell to (3-8) for the 2nd half of the season.  They currently are 5 games back but still have to a chance with nearly 4 weeks left in the season.

Bellingham heads to the All-Star break with the next five days off before opening up a key 3-game homestand Saturday July 27th against the Port Angeles Lefties.  Come on down and cheer on your Bellingham Bells to victory.  Hope to see those stands filled.

Bellingham sent Logan Hatley, pitcher (Western Oregon University), Troy Viola, Guthrie Morrison, Jack Machtolf, Nick Proctor and Jimmy Chatfield to the game on Tuesday July 23rd.  Our own Jack Machtolf was named MVP of the All-Star game as he went 4-4 and helped lead the Northern Division to victory!  Congratulations to Jack and the entire 6 Bells for making it to the All Star Game and making us proud!

Go Bells!!

Feel free to comment below if you have something to say and be sure to join the SSU community by liking us at Facebook at SeattleSportsUnion.

Facebook Comments