Catcher Matt James opened the scoring with a two-run shot over the right field fence in the bottom of the first inning and the Bellingham Bells never looked back, taking a 13-1 win over the Wenatchee Applesox on Friday, July 13 at Joe Martin Field.
James, a 2018 West Coast League All-Star and Ferndale High School alumnus, went 2-for-4 with three RBIs to help the Bells (22-11) take game one of the three-game series against the Applesox (12-18).
“I just went out and followed my hands,” James said.
The Bells widened the gap in the third inning, scoring two more runs.
“We got plenty of runs, and our pitchers were playing great,” James said.
The Bells took advantage of Wenatchee’s sluggish defense. Applesox hitters struggled to get anything past the infield, and they never added to their lone run in the third inning.
Bells first baseman Cole Joy had to be walked off the field after twisting his ankle while attempting to steal second in the fourth inning. Bellingham didn’t lose momentum, and the 6-foot-6 Grant Holeman stepped in to play for Joy, keeping a firm grip on first.
The Bells continued their season momentum against the Applesox after taking two out of three games in Wenatchee.
“Everything has been coming together,” said Morgan Golden, a Western student and official scorekeeper for the Bells. “We’ve been solid all around, with good pitching and lots of runs.”
Wenatchee’s Tyler Chipman walked two Bells batters in the bottom of the eighth.
“We just took advantage of what they were giving us,” James said.
Applesox pitching coach Riley Drongesen switched lefty Brian Marquez in for Chipman after the second walk. But the damage had long been done. The Bells shut the door in the ninth for the decisive win.
The Bells hold a 2.5 game lead over the Kelowna Falcons of British Columbia for first place in the West Coast League North Division.
Bells starter Chris Micheles (0-0, 1.08 ERA with 8.1 innings pitched) faces Curtis Bafus of Wenatchee on Saturday, July 14 at 6:35 p.m. at Joe Martin Field.