BELLINGHAM, Wash. — John Albert’s flare to left field fell with the bases loaded in the bottom of the 10th inning and gave Bellingham a 3-2 walk-off victory over the Sweets on Tuesday night at Joe Martin Field.
The Bells (32-20) rallied to tie the game with two outs in the ninth and Albert’s first hit of the season gave them their second consecutive victory over the Sweets (22-30).
Leading 2-1 entering the ninth thanks to Tyler Roberts’s mastery and an eighth-inning two-out rally, the Sweets could not protect the lead. Grant Fink started the ninth with a line drive that got over the head of Ryan Cooper in left for a double. Jarel Lewis then moved him to third with a deep fly to center but Roberts came back to strike out pinch-hitter Rouric Bridgewater. Facing his former Walla Walla Community College teammate Michael Leach, Roberts put the count 2-2 before Leach lined a single up the middle to tie the game.
The Bells then benefited from a Sweets miscue to win the game in the 10th. Des Santos started the inning with a walk and Connor Lawhead then threw Andrew Ely’s bunt away at first to put runners on the corners with no outs. Lawhead then got a ground ball to short for the first out before intentionally walking Fink to load the bases. Lawhead struck out Lewis for the second out but Albert flared a 1-1 pitch just out of the reach of Cooper to end the game.
Tuesday’s affair was tied at 1-1 for a majority of the game after each team plated a run in the first. Kris Paulino started the game with a walk and moved to second on a sac bunt from Bonczyk and then to third on a Brett Jacobs bunt. Spencer O’Neil scored him with a single into left field. The Sweets had a chance for more but a 4-6-3 double play with the bases loaded ended the threat.
The Sweets then gave the lead away immediately. An infield error and an errant pickoff put Ely on second with one out and he eventually scored on a Lewis single to left.
After that, Roberts was lights out. The right-hander didn’t allow another hit until the seventh inning. He struck out two batters in each of the second and fifth innings, and retired 14-of-15 between the second and sixth innings. Roberts’s only blemish was a leadoff walk to Fink in the fourth that was erased as Beau Fraser caught him stealing.
Roberts allowed two runs on five hits in his longest outing of the year, striking out a season-high seven batters. Paulino finished with three hits and Jacobs extended his hitting streak to eight games.
The Sweets and Bells continue their series on Wednesday night with a 7:05 p.m. first pitch.
Bellingham 3, Walla Walla 2
Walla Walla 100 000 010 0 — 2 8 3
Bellingham 100 000 001 1 — 3 7 1
Roberts, Lawhead (9) and Fraser; Fisher, Myers (5), Harper (8), Engel (9) and Leach.
HR — none.
Hits — Walla Walla: Paulino 3, Bonczyk, Jacobs, O’Neil, Fraser, Cooper; Bellingham: Fink 2, Lewis, Albert, Leach, Locher, Farrington.