Baseball Breaks Losing Streak In Tacoma-Pierce Invite; Kiel Fans 12 in Near No-No
Nick Kiel, who has been a hard luck pitcher all year, finally had some breaks go his way as he tossed a no-hitter through five and two-thirds innings while striking out 12 in a 2-0 win over Spokane on Sunday March 23 at the Tacoma-Pierce invite. The win helped reduce the pain from the night before, in which Bellevue had a lead over Spokane but surrendered it late in the game to lose 5-4. Kiel, who at one time struck out six in a row, was in control the entire game and lost a no-hitter in the sixth when a soft line drive was dropped by third baseman Aaron Sandefur. Although the ball was secured in Sandefur’s glove then dropped, the play was ruled a hit due to Sandefur’s diving effort. Kiel bounced right back by getting a ground ball to end the inning then struck out another two batters in his final frame in the seventh before giving way to Corbin Powers, who has emerged as one of the most reliable freshman pitchers on the staff. Powers did not give up a hit and struck out two to earn the save and preserve the shutout. Kiel now leads the NWAACC with 35 strikeouts; nine more than the next competitor in the conference. The Bulldogs’ John Bodenhamer and Aaron Stroosma are also leading the NWAACC in home runs with three apiece.
In game two on Sunday, Aaron Sandefur, who has been called into active duty as an emergency starter for the injured Brandon Mahovlich, was stellar through 7 1/3 innings; giving up only one earned run. The Bulldogs could not hold the lead as two walks by relief pitchers in addition to two throwing errors in the eighth led to three Tacoma runs in their come-from-behind win over Bellevue 5-3. Nick Pribble had two doubles to lead Bellevue’s offense.
On Saturday March 22, prior to the 5-4 loss to Spokane, Bellevue was defeated 3-0 by Pierce. While Bellevue had eight hits in the game along with Pierce and had more opportunities to score, Pierce got the big break in the fifth. Tied at 0-0, a ground ball hit to Bellevue’s Sheldon Stober at shortstop took a sideways bounce on the artificial turf to elude Stober’s glove which enabled the go-ahead run for Pierce. Prior to that, a throwing error by the pitcher Alex Hatch put runners in scoring position for Pierce before the sideways bounce doomed Bellevue’s fortune.
The Bulldogs, off to their roughest start in years at 5-12, now open league play this weekend after academic finals. Bellevue travels to Olympic for their league-opening doubleheader on Saturday March 29; a 1PM start at Kitsap Fairgrounds in Silverdale. Bellevue will then host Olympic next Sunday March 30 at Courter Field.