Coming into May, the Bellevue College baseball team had won 10 of their last 11 games but have only won four of their nine games since.
This stretch started off well enough when the first-place Everett came to town. Their first game on May 14 was a 3-1 victory on the back of Calvin Kirchoff’s stellar pitching. He went seven innings strong, allowing just one run on four hits and striking out nine. It was Kye Seitz who drew first blood in the opening inning, driving in Ben Schulte to take a 1-0 lead that was quickly answered in the third. Austin McMinds drove in Riley Parker in the fourth to take the final necessary run, but Schulte tacked on an insurance run in the seventh to hammer in the victory. The second game of the day was destined to go the distance.
After Everett took a three-run lead in the second and added two more in the fourth and fifth innings, Bellevue had quite the hill to climb. McMinds drove in Fred Buckson on a single in the fifth to spark the offense, and they went to work. Nick Hovland reached on a triple to lead the bottom of the sixth and scored on a groundout by Kyle Green, narrowing the deficit to three runs. The floodgates opened in the eighth. Green reached on an error to lead the inning. Pierce Leavengood dropped a pinch-hit single to get on. Buckson singled to load the bases and set the stage. While Marques Titialii grounded into a fielder’s choice, McMinds came through with a two-run double. Now with runners on second and third, Troy Baunsgard got his first hit of the game, another two-run double to give Bellevue a 6-5 lead going into the final inning of regulation. However, an error by Titalii caused the tying run to advance and the game headed to extras. The Bulldogs’ resilience faltered there, as Bellevue gave up three runs in the top of the 10th and then went down in order to end the game.
The season series at an even 3-3, there were another two games between the two teams on May 17. Both teams brought their fighting spirits for game one in yet another nail-biter. It took until the fifth inning for Baunsgard to open the scoring with an RBI double. Everett outfielder Luke Rohleder hit a two-run home run in the sixth, but that was all the offense they managed against Jacob Dahlstrom, who allowed two runs on four hits over his seven innings. Nevertheless, Everett was ahead 2-1 until the bottom of the ninth when Hovland opened the inning with a home run of his own, tying the game and sending it to extras. Michael Attalah took over for Dahlstrom and had thrown five scoreless innings in relief when the bottom of the 12th came around. Preston Moritz came in to pitch for Everett and it fell apart. Tre’Sean Steele walked, Baunsgard walked, both of them advanced on a balk. With the first base open, they intentionally walked Ben Schulte to get to Buckson who won the game with a walk-off single.
The momentum mattered little when Everett scored two runs in the top of the second inning against Bellevue’s Trevin Hope in their next game. Undeterred, the Bulldogs rattled off three in the bottom of the frame to take an early lead before adding an insurance run in the sixth. Up 4-2 heading into the eighth inning, Hovland was hit by a pitch before the following two batters. With two outs and one baserunner to work with, Baunsgard slapped an RBI double and advanced to third on a wild pitch. Schulte walked, giving way for a two-run triple by Buckson. Leavengood was hit by a pitch, allowing Seitz to score a run on a single. A botched throw scored Leavengood later on, putting the final cherry on top of a 9-2 victory.
With no games against Everett remaining, Bellevue’s 16-8 record can be bolstered by a 5-3 season record against first-place Everett, even going so far as to make up five of Everett’s six losses. With just a handful of games left, the top three of Everett, Edmonds and Bellevue are separated by just two games. It could end any way, and even despite the lack of playoffs this year, there might be enough regional pride on the line to want to win it all.