The Bellevue baseball team sat in third place after losing three of four games to Edmonds and were entering a four-game series against the struggling Skagit Valley. A dominant series could bump them into prime position to not just overtake Edmonds, but also Everett, and win the division.
Skagit might have scored two quick runs and taken the lead in the series opener, but Bellevue immediately answered with two to tie in the third inning and another five to take the lead in the fourth. The glory went to Pierce Leavengood, who broke the game open with a grand slam in that five-run inning. Not satisfied with a 7-2 lead, the Bulldogs went on to score six more, including a second home run by Leavengood. It was a good thing they did too, considering Skagit poured on six runs in the final two innings to trim the final score to 13-8.
After scoring first again in the second game of the day, Bellevue didn’t even give Skagit time to think fleeting thoughts of victory. The first two batters got on in the bottom of the first so Ben Schulte could drive them home, taking a 2-1 lead without recording a single out. Still no outs, Leavengood got on base so an Austin McMinds single could score both runners again, making it 4-1. The bases filled up with runners and a run would score when Riley Parker was hit by a pitch, causing the starting pitcher to be pulled without recording an out. Bret Otterson would tack on one more in the inning with a sacrifice fly, but the inning ultimately ended with Bellevue taking a 6-1 lead. It was smooth sailing, as the Bulldogs padded some stats en route to a 14-1 victory to close out the first day of the series.
Two days later, Skagit Valley had to hope that their home field advantage might kick in, but the first game gave no reprieve. Pitcher Trevin Hope was on fire, blanking Skagit to the tune of five scoreless innings. In relief, Aaron Barokas and Quincy Vassar threw a combined four scoreless as well. In total, Skagit Valley managed three hits and a walk over the entire nine innings, while the Bellevue offense went to town on Trevor Cassell, scoring seven runs en route to the shutout win.
When a Kyle Green single scored Josiah Santiago in the first inning of the fourth and final game, it felt doomed. Sure enough, smart baserunning by McMinds and Santiago pushed two more across in the third to extend the lead to 3-0. Skagit Valley chipped one back in the fourth, but the next score came in the seventh when a Troy Baunsgard homer scored two more. To add insult to injury, the Bulldogs scored three more in the ninth and ended the four-game sweep with an 8-1 win.
Now 20-8, Bellevue has just one more four-game series against the 4-24 Olympic. Everett, one game ahead of Bellevue at 21-7, has four games against Skagit Valley to end the season. It will come down to these final four games to decide who truly is the best. Considering Bellevue’s impressive 5-3 head-to-head against Everett, there’s a compelling argument that the Bulldogs deserve it.