Kelowna Falcons

Bells Bounce Back

The Kelowna Falcons suffered their first loss of the 2018 West Coast League season as a four-run 4th inning helped propel the Bellingham Bells to an 8-2 victory on Saturday night at Elks Stadium.

The Bells opened the scoring off of three straight singles and the red-hot play of Matt James continued as he drove in the game’s opening run on a ball that snuck through the left side and into left field off of Falcons starter Trevor Bridgen.

Johnny Wiltfang rolled through his first two innings before getting into a bit of trouble in the 3rd inning with back-to-back singles from Matt Voelzke and Tylor Nixon which set up Trent Tinglestad, who grounded into an RBI with his groundout to short to tie the game at 1.

The tie did not last long as the Bells bats opened things up in the 4th inning where a pair of doubles sandwiched by a single put Bellingham ahead by a 3-1 score before Jordan Stoner whacked a ball to the left field gap and collected an RBI triple before coming home on an error to push the Bells lead to 5-1 after a big four-run inning.

Kelowna had an opportunity to get back into the game as they loaded the bases with one out in the bottom half of the 4th inning but Austen Butler was unable to bring anyone home as he grounded into a double play and a missed chance with runners in scoring position, something that Falcons manager Bryan Donohue expressed will come with time, “That’s something that comes as guys start to get into better rhythms,” stated Donohue, “That double play in the 4th was unfortunate. (Austen) hit the ball hard but it ended up going right at their guy but I know this team is capable of more offensively, it’s only a matter of time before things start to click.”

Bellingham continued to swing the bat well, finishing the night with 18 hits and collecting two more runs in the 6th on an RBI double and single off of reliever Bradley Stookey before Kelowna came back with a Tylor Nixon RBI groundout in the 7th inning, hustling down the line to beat, what would have been, the Bells third double play of the night.

The 7th inning also marked the last for Bellingham starter Johnny Wiltfang, who was outstanding for the Bells. The right-handed pitcher surrendered just two runs on six hits through seven innings of work while striking out two batters and walking six.

Grant Suponchick came on for the Falcons in the 8th inning and pitched the rest of the way, giving up one run in two innings while Tareon Kay came on in relief of Wiltfang and threw two scoreless frames.

Bellingham added one more run in the 9th inning and closed the game with an 8-2 victory in Kelowna on Saturday night, which Coach Donohue recognized the Bells came out swinging, “The biggest difference in the game is that they hit,” commented the third-year Falcons bench boss, “They cashed in on their opportunities and hit a lot of balls hard. We had our chances but they got some big double plays to get themselves out of jams and they were able to capture those momentum swings.”

Trevor Bridgen was saddled with the loss for the Falcons while Johnny Wiltfang picked up the win and sets the stage for the rubber match between two teams that will not meet again until early August.

The final game of the opening weekend set between the Falcons and Bells goes on Sunday evening with first pitch coming at 6:05 PM. It’s Minor Baseball Night as children wearing their minor baseball jerseys will get into the game for free. Tickets are available through the Falcons website at HERE.

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