Morning Star Staff
The Kelowna Falcons punched their ticket to the West Coast Baseball League championship series with a thrilling 9-6 win over the Bellingham Bells Thursday night in front of 1,039 fans at Elks Stadium.
The Falcons opened the best-of-three final series at home Saturday night against the Bend Elks of Oregon.
The Falcons opened the scoring in the first inning on a two-run double from Ben Gamba.
After allowing a run in the second, Kelowna added two more in the third to go up 4-1 as Hunter Villanueva hit a sac fly and Brandon Oliver ripped an RBI-double.
Kelowna used a wild pitch in each of the fourth and fifth innings to score two more and take a 6-1 lead with four innings to play.
The Bells answered by scoring four times in the sixth to narrow the margin to a single run, and chasing Falcons’ starter Joel Lamont after 5.1 innings. Alex Webb gave up a hit in relief of Lamont, the Bells’ fifth of the inning.
The Falcons scored twice in the bottom half, one on an error, and another on a Villanueva single.
The seventh produced a run to put Kelowna up 9-5 when Joey Crunkilton cashed in Oliver after a leadoff double.
In the eighth inning, Webb gave up a single and a walk to put two runners on with no outs. On the first pitch to Joey Harris, he lined one up the middle at Villanueva. The ball would not stick in Hunter’s glove as he went to tag out Dustin Breshears at second, so he picked it up, tagged Breshears, tagged second and threw to first.
With the Falcons half on and half off the field, and the Bells coaches coming out to argue, the umpires held a conference to determine what had happened.
It was decided that the ball was not caught by Villanueva, so the tag of Breshears and the bag plus the throw to first meant the Falcons had turned a triple play and got out of the inning.