A late Kitsap BlueJackets rally fell short in a 4-1 loss at Gene Lobe Field against the Bellingham Bells Monday.
Kitsap (2-4) struck first in the bottom of the first when Bryce Steckler led off the inning with a walk. He was forced out a second base on a fielders choice from Jack Stronach. Stronach scored on a Bryce Peterson single to give the BlueJackets a 1-0 edge.
Recently named West Coast League All-Star Jake Brewer continued his strong pitching for Kitsap, breezing through the first four innings.
Bellingham (2-1) broke Brewers groove in the fifth when Matt Ruff singled and scored on a Shane Hanon single that did not leave the infield to tie the game 1-1.
Zach Johnson started for the Bells, holding Kitsap scoreless in his last four innings of work. Johnson finished with five innings and five strikeouts.
In the top of the eighth the Bells broke through when Elijah Skipps walked off Kyle Thompson (0-1). Jake Vieth and Justin Polzin singled to load the bases off Garret Smith of the BlueJackets. Ruff was hit by a pitch to score Skipps and push ahead in the lead 2-1 in favor of the Bells.
Bellingham tacked on two runs in the top of the ninth off Smith when Andru Cardenas singled. Hanon sacrificed Cardenas to second and Chase Strumpf walked. Skips followed with a walk of his own. Nick Caudillo relieved Smith and walked Vieth to score Cardenas. Polzin singled to score Strumpf to give the Bells a 4-1 lead.
Tyler Palm worked the bottom of the ninth inning and escaped out of the rally of Kitsap. Luke Stampfl led off with a double and Bryce Peterson was walked. With two outs and the tying run at the plate, Palm forced Steffen Torgenson to fly out to center to end the game.
Jared Horn (1-0) picked up the victory for the Bells, working the eighth inning and setting down the BlueJackets in order.
Thompson was tagged with the Kitsap loss, working two-thirds of an inning and allowing an earned run.
The BlueJackets are back in action Tuesday as the Kelowna Falcons come to Gene Lobe Field. First pitch is at 6:35 on BlueJackets TV. The pregame show begins at 6:20. Follow the team on twitter @BlueJacketBall for updates.