For the first time in eight years, Joe Martin Field was the site of the West Coast League All-Star Game.
With thousands in attendance, the stands were filled with shouting fans, the thumps of bleacher steps and the smell of freshly grilled hot dogs.
Featuring six players from the Bellingham Bells, the city’s collegiate summer team, the game was a low scoring pitcher’s duel with just nine total hits as the South All-Stars beat the North All-Stars 3-0.
Throwing the first pitch at this year’s all-star game was none other than former Seattle Mariners pitcher Jamie Moyer, who will be inducted into the Mariners Hall of Fame on Saturday, Aug. 8. Moyer played for the M’s for 11 seasons and is the franchise’s all-time leader in wins, starts and innings pitched with a career ERA of 3.97.
“I enjoyed the whole atmosphere,” Moyer said. “It’s fun to watch these young kids that have an appetite for baseball and a dream to play in college and for a lot of these kids their aspirations are to go on and play professionally. Some will and some won’t but they’re all chasing a dream right now and it’s fun to watch.”
Leading the South All-Stars in their three-run win was first baseman Jake Scudder of the Kitsap BlueJackets and shortstop Cadyn Grenier of the Bend Elks. Griener had two stolen bases, one hit and one scored run while Scudder went 2-3 at the plate with one walk.
After the game, Grenier was given the Top Prospect Award and Scudder won the MVP.
“It was fun,” Scudder said. “It was a good end to a good day. I came out here with a lot of good baseball players. I competed and did what I could do.”
The home run derby for the West Coast League ran before the main game and showcased the Bellingham Bells very own, Bronson Larsen. The first round was a 10-out format with the second and final rounds having only five outs. Larsen was knocked out in the first round and Hunter Villanueva from the Kelowna Falcons won the competition on a go-ahead home run with three outs remaining in the final round to finish with five total.
Another one of the players representing the Bellingham Bells this year was shortstop Dustin Breshears. A senior at Gonzaga University, the infielder has a batting average of .277 with 28 hits, three home runs and 14 RBIs in 27 games.
“It was an awesome experience,” Breshears said. “This is one of those once-in-a-lifetime experiences so you’ve just got to have fun with it no matter what happens.”
Other players from the Bellingham Bells in this year’s all-star game were catcher Bronson Larsen, first baseman Andrew Reichenbach, outfielder Aaron Stroosma, and pitchers Andrew Kemmerer and Justin Calomeni.
Larsen will be a junior for the Brigham Young University baseball team next season and is currently batting .304 average with five home run.
Reichenbach is attending George Fox University and will be a junior next season. He has a .273 batting average with 24 hits this summer for the Bells.
Stroosma plays for Liberty University and is from Mount Vernon, Washington. This season he is batting .288 with 29 hits and 20 stolen bases.
Kemmerer started the game for the North All-Stars and gave up no runs in the inning that he pitched. He has an ERA of 1.45 this summer for the Bells while only pitching one game where his ERA rose above two. Kemmerer is a senior at University of Central Arkansas.
Calomeni came into the game for one inning as well and did not give up a hit; he also struck out one batter. With an ERA of 2.03 for the Bells this season, he is 2-0 as a starter and is attending Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.
The Bells’ collegiate players don’t always have a place to stay, so some fans volunteer to host players in their homes for the summer. Lisa McCoy enjoyed her first all-star game in Bellingham and currently hosts catcher Alex Galgano and pitcher Cody Anderson. McCoy says that the games are fun to come out to.
“Fans that come to the ballpark kind of put the boys on a pedestal,” McCoy said. “But at home, they’re just regular college students. They like to eat a lot, they sleep late, they work very hard while they’re here, they really don’t get much downtime but when they do we like to spend family time.”