Trailing for nearly the entire game, Walla Walla rallied for yet another come-from-behind win on Friday, downing Bellingham 7-5 at Joe Martin Field on Friday night.
Bellingham took an early lead on a first-inning three-run homer from DH Chase Illig (West Virginia). The blast, Illig’s fourth of the year, handed Bellingham an early multi-run advantage.
But the Sweets cut into the lead in the fourth. Back-to-back singles from 1B John Glenn (Cal Baptist) and C Ryan Shaw (Richmond) placed two on base for 2B Kevin Jordan (Loyola-Marymount) who continued his hot-hitting ways, driving both runners in with a two-run single.
Meanwhile, Sweets starter RHP Chris Lincoln (UC Santa Barbara) settled in after a rocky first. It wasn’t Lincolns most dominating performance, but the rising sophomore gutted out for effective innings, holding the Bells to just those three first-inning runs.
The Sweets tied it up in the fifth. Bellingham starter, RHP Tyler Radcliffe (Long Beach State), let up the tying run in his final inning of work. 3B Nick Nyquist (Gonzaga) walked with one out then moved to second on a fielding error. He scored on an RBI double by Glenn, evening the score at 3-3.
But the tie was extremely temporary. Bellingham struck back in the bottom of the fifth, scoring to retake the lead. SS Ernie Yake (Gonzaga) singled to lead off against RHP Patrick Stanton (Whitman). Yake advanced to third on a fielding error and then, with two outs, scored the go-ahead run on an RBI groundout by 1B Austin Shenton (Bellevue CC).
The Sweets’ ultimate outburst, however, occurred in the eighth when the team tied a season high by plating four runs in the inning.
A one-out walk from Shaw (who was pinch-run for by Darius Vines of Oxnard CC), an RBI single from SS Vinny Capra (Richmond), an RBI double from Jordan, an RBI single from CF Garrett Mitchell (UCLA), plus a run-scoring double from RF J.J. Hancock (Washington State) provided the heroics.
The Sweets were also the beneficiaries of three Bells fielding errors in the eighth inning.
Although Bellingham would push one final run across in the bottom of the eighth – an RBI base hit by 3B Brendan McClary (Gonzaga) – a pair of Sweets relievers, RHP Conner Roberts (UC Santa Barbara) and RHP Cameron Deere (Brown), limited the Bells to just one run in the game’s final four innings.
Roberts (1-0) earned his first win. RHP Tommy Paul (Oregon State) (0-1), who began the eighth inning on the mound, took the loss for Bellingham. Deere (1) recorded his first save.
Glenn set his season-high with four hits. Jordan, in turn, also established a personal best with three hits.
The Sweets and Bells are now tied in the standings with identical records of 13-9. The two teams trail first-place Kelowna (15-9) by one game in the standings. However, Kelowna has only three games remaining in its first half while the Sweets and Bells will play five more against one another before concluding the first half on July 5th.
Tomorrow night, the Sweets will send LHP Tim Josten (Cal State Fullerton) to the hill. Josten has yet to allow a run in 12 innings of work this season. He will be opposed by Bellingham’s RHP Holden Powell (UCLA).
by Ben Farber
Audio Highlights -- Jordan's go-ahead single