WALLA WALLA, Wash. – Bellingham starter Jared Fisher limited the Sweets to one run on six hits over eight innings and the Bells scored four times in the fifth on their way to a 5-1 victory on Saturday night at Borleske Stadium.
The Bells (14-8) snapped the Sweets' (10-14) three-game winning streak with the victory and moved into a tie with Kelowna for second place in the East Division.
Rain pushed the start of Saturday's game back 30 minutes and the Sweets appeared to be unaffected as they quickly took the lead in the second. Nick Vilter was hit to start the inning, a fielder's choice retired him and a Kalani Brackenridge ground ball through the right side hit Ryan Cooper to put a runner on first with two outs. Brackenridge went to second on a wild pitch and came around to score as J.J. Robinson laced a double to right-center.
Fisher would settle in after that, allowing just three hits the rest of the outing. He worked around a two-out walk in the third, tossed 1-2-3 innings in the fourth and fifth and got a double play in the sixth.
While Fisher was keeping his team in the game, the Bells offense finally figured out Sweets starter Matt Imhof. The left-hander from Cal Poly worked out of trouble over the first four innings, leaving runners in scoring position in two of the first four innings, but hit trouble in the fifth. He allowed a leadoff single to Joe Winterburn and then Jonny Locher doubled off the wall in left to tie the score at 1-1. An infield error but runners on second and third and Andrew Ely's sac fly put Bellingham ahead for good. Nate Causey capped the big inning with a two-run double to right.
Walla Walla's bullpen kept the deficit at three in the late innings and gave the Sweets one last gasp in the eighth. Kris Paulino started the inning with a single and went to second on a one-out single from Brett Jacobs. Both runners advanced on a wild pitch but Fisher buckled down. He struck out Spencer O'Neil on a 3-2 breaking ball and then got a fly to center to end the threat. Jacob Coats pitched the ninth and struck out the side.
Simon Anderson entered in the fifth in relief of Imhof and got out of the inning without further damage. He then struck out the side in the sixth before handing the ball to Joe Arlt in the seventh. Arlt worked the final three innings, allowing one run on two hits.
Cooper extended his hitting streak to 10 games with a single in the seventh, the first Sweets hit since the second inning. O'Neil extended his on-base streak to 13 games with a hit by pitch and a walk.
The Sweets will enjoy an off day on Sunday before starting a split four-game series with Wenatchee on Monday, July 2. In a rematch of last year's East Division Championship, the Sweets and Applesox will play two games in Wenatchee before finishing the series in Walla Walla on July 4-5.