Late offense by the Bellingham Bells led the way to a 5-3 victory from Joe Martin Field over the Kitsap BlueJackets on Thursday.
Kitsap (1-2) started the scoring in the top of the third when Benny Kaleiwahea walked. Daniel Lopez singled, and both runners advanced on a wild pitch. Bryce Steckler notched a sacrifice fly to score Kaleiwahea to take the 1-0 lead.
Bellingham (15-12) struck in the bottom of the fourth with two outs. Gunner Schubert knocked a base hit and scored on a Landon Riker single to even the game 1-1.
Kitsap quickly added a run in the top of the fifth off Bells starter Gio Lopez. Chris Caffrey singled and was forced out at second when Kaleiwahea bounced into a fielders choice. Jack Stronach doubled to score Kaleiwahea to put Kitsap ahead 2-1.
Colton Barnes started on the mound and left the game after five innings of one-run ball for Kitsap.
In the bottom of the sixth off BlueJackets reliever John Matros, David Banuelos singled to start the inning. Joey Angyus (1-1) relieved Matros and walked Danny Casals. Schubert singled to score Banuelos to tie the game. With Casals at third, Matt DiLeo hit a sacrifice fly to bring in Casals to give the Bells the 3-2 lead.
Bellingham continued to add to its lead in the bottom of the seventh when Andru Cardenas singled and reached second on a Kitsap error. Shane Hanon walked, and both runners moved up 90 feet with stolen bases. Banuelos hit a ball back to Kitsap reliever Tony Ortiz where he was not able to corral it, scoring Cardenas. Jake Vieth extended the lead 5-2 with a sacrifice fly to drive in Hanon.
The BlueJackets chipped away with a run in the top of the eighth.
Stronach doubled and scored on an RBI groundout by Steckler to pull within 5-3, but the BlueJackets offense was shut down in the ninth. Sam Hellinger pitched a scoreless inning to earn his fourth save on the season.
Henry Stellwagen (1-1) earned the victory for the Bells in one and a third innings on the mound.
Angyus took the loss for Kitsap.
Stronach led the BlueJackets offense with two doubles.
Kitsap and Bellingham square off in game two Friday at 7:05 pm PT at Joe Martin Field. Friday’s game marks the start of the second half of the season for the Bells. Listen to the action on BlueJackets Radio and follow the team on twitter @BlueJacketBall for updates.