Bullpen Collapse Hands Bells Victory in Game Two of Series

Above: Bellingham shortstop Ernie Yake turns two on the HarbourCats Saturday evening (Photo: Christian J. Stewart)

Story and Photos by Christian J. Stewart

June 23, 2018, Victoria, BC – The Bellingham Bells used a six-run sixth inning, with all six runs coming off three separate Victoria relief pitchers, to cruise to an 10-2 win over the HarbourCats Saturday evening, in game two of their three-game West Coast League (WCL) series at Wilson’s Group Stadium at Royal Athletic Park in Victoria.

The big Bellingham inning put a damper on a decent start from the HarbourCats Garrett Goodall (two runs on eight hits, with no walks and four strikeouts over five full innings of work) and also a two-run bottom of the fifth, that saw the HarbourCats tie the game 2-2, after falling behind 2-0 after the first two frames.

Victoria starter Garrett Goodall kept things close for the ‘Cats, giving up ust two runs over his five full innings of work (Photo: Christian J. Stewart)

The Bells opened the scoring in the first, when Ernie Yake doubled and was later brought home on a single from Landon Kimbro.  Connor Mack then extended that lead to 2-0 with a lead-off home run to begin the second.

Goodall would settle down after that, at one point retiring seven in a row, to give the ‘Cats a chance to chip back into the game.

That chance came in the fifth, when Michael Malinchak would crack a one-out single and Jason Willow reached on an error, with both then coming in to score on a Jedd Fagg double.

Victoria left fielder Jaxxon Fagg makes a great sliding catch in the first inning Saturday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart)

That would be the end of the rally and when Po-Jui Huang came in to pitch the sixth for the HarbourCats, the Bells went to town, scoring four runs on three hits off the National Taiwan Sports University product.  Brian McRae then went to Claire Eccles to pitch to lefty Yake and after a walk, on came Lawson Humphries and two hits and another run later, the Bells had built a six-run lead that the HarbourCats could not overcome, especially when Bellingham would add two more off reliever Luke Manuel in the eighth.

For Bellingham, Yake had another strong night at the plate, with a pair of hits and two runs scored. He also made three outstanding defensive plays at shortstop, including a great diving catch of a foul pop-up in behind  the Strathcona Hotel Rooftop Party Deck down the third base line.

Bellingham starter Grant Holman struck out seven in his 4.2 innings of work against Bellingham Saturday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart)

Matt James, with three doubles and two RBI and Jordan Stoner also contributed to the Bells 15-hit attack with three hits each, while Zach Needham and Connor Mack, with his home run, chipped in with two hits each in the winning effort.

On the mound, Bellingham starter Grant Holman went 4.2 innings, giving up the two HarbourCats runs on five hits, while walking just one and striking out seven.  Theron Kay, the eventual game winner, Trevor Delaite and Carson Olson then closed things out the rest of the way.

For Victoria, Harrison Spohn led the way with three hits, with Jedd Fagg’s double being the only other productive hit of the evening.  On the mound, Huang takes the loss, giving up four runs on three hits.

Victoria third baseman Jason Willow makes a play against Bellingham Saturday evening (Photo: Christian J. Stewart)

The ‘Cats and Bells conclude their three game series, with a 1:00 pm matinee Sunday at the HarbourCats annual “Bark in the Park” day, sponsored by Bosley’s on Yates, that allows all fans to bring their dog to the game.  Plenty of great seats available!  The Wilson’s Group Stadium Box office opens at 12 noon Sunday, or order on-line at

Game Notes:  With three hits Friday night and his double tonight, Jedd Fagg has hit safely in his last four games and  has ten hits over his last eight games.  Victoria reliever Tyler Yoshihara (1-0) just throws strikes. Entering play Saturday, the righty from Pomona Pitxer had pitched 8.1 innings, giving up no runs on just three hits, while striking out eight.  The HarbourCats full baby blue uniforms debuted tonight are in homage to the retro stylings of the old baby blue road jerseys of the Kansas City Royals and Toronto Blue Jays, two teams that Victoria Head Coach Brian McRae played for in his major league career.

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