BELLINGHAM, Wash.- Bellingham walked off game one Tuesday with a two run homer to right field in the bottom of the ninth inning to win 4-2.
With Corvallis also beating Bend tonight the best case scenario is Portland finishes the second half with a 16-11 record, Cowlitz with a 15-12 record and Corvallis with a 14-13 record. Portland would then win both halves and the second playoff spot would come down to whoever has the next best overall record. Right now Corvallis owns that tie-breaker and Cowlitz cannot catch the Knights meaning Cowlitz has been eliminated from playoff contention.
After Marty Maves (SR Benedictine) induced a pop out to second base the next batter drew a walk. Then Zach Needham drove a pitch to right field that cleared the wall to give the Bells the advantage in the series.
Maves dropped his record to 3-2 pitching 1.1 innings.
The loss wasted a quality start from the Black Bears ace Zach Heaton (R-FR Dallas Baptist). Heaton pitched through the seventh inning for the third time this season and racked up a single game high six strikeouts allowing only two runs and three hits.
Bellingham got on the board first starting with a two out walk in the bottom of the second. Then a line drive got through the diving center fielder and rolled all the way to the wall scoring the run on a triple.
Cowlitz answered in the third. Kyle Sandstrom (JR Sacramento State) became the first Black Bears base runner with a walk. Sandstrom then stole second base and was driven in with an RBI single to right field by Jonathan Hodo (JR Benedictine).
The Bells (13-9, 31-17) took their second lead in the fourth. After a lead off infield single to first base and a stolen base another two out hit, this time a single up the middle, made it 2-1.
The Black Bears answered again in the sixth. Cowlitz loaded the bases and with two outs Tanner Parker (JR Middle Tennessee State) drew a full count walk.
Cowlitz (7-12, 17-29) had retired 14 Bells hitters in a row before the walk in the ninth inning.
Mitch Lines (RHP SO Lower Columbia College) gets the start for game two Wednesday with first pitch again at 6:35 PM.