Bend and Kelowna Earn Spots in WCLCS

The Kelowna Falcons punched their ticket to the West Coast League Championship Series (WCLCS) with a thrilling 9-6 win last night over the WCL defending champion Bellingham Bells at Elks Stadium.

The Falcons will face the Bend Elks in the WCLCS with game one set for Saturday, August 15 at Elks Stadium in Kelowna. First pitch is set for 6:35 pm.

Kelowna will be appearing in their first WCLCS.

Bend earned its spot in the WCLCS by sweeping their South Division rival Corvallis Knights. The Elks wrapped their first-round playoff series this past Wednesday night with a 5-2 win at Vince Genna Stadium before a boisterous crowd of 2,060.

The Elks last played in the WCLCS in 2010, as they matched up vs. Wenatchee. This will be their second WCLCS appearance.

Both Bend and Kelowna will be vying for their first WCL title.

The Falcons banged out 17 hits last night and were led by WCL batting champion Hunter Villanueva of Fresno Pacific who went 2-for-3 with 2 runs scored and 2 RBIs.

Kelowna took an early 6-1 lead, but Bellingham charged back within a run after scoring 4 runs in the 6th to make it 6-5 Falcons. But a triple play in the 8th-inning by Kelowna and fine bullpen work by University of British Columbia pitchers Alex Webb and Curtis Taylor of the Falcons held the lead. Starter Joel Lamont of White Rock, British Columbia tossed 5.1 innings to earn the win and Taylor got the last out, with the bases loaded, to register the save. All three Kelowna pitchers are Canadian products.

Kelowna got to a decisive game three thanks to a combined shutout by Michael Koval (Cal Poly Pomona), Taylor and Spencer Applebach (Northern Colorado) the night prior, as the Falcons blanked Bellingham 6-0 at Elks Stadium. Bellingham won game one 2-1 at Joe Martin Field.

The Elks’ blasted the Knights 12-1 in game one of their first-round playoff series at Goss Stadium in Corvallis this past Tuesday behind a 3-for-6 day from shortstop Cadyn Grenier, an incoming frosh at Oregon State. Grenier tripled and knocked in two runs as Bend collected 17 hits in the rout.

Bend closed out the series with a 5-2 home victory. Jordan Wilcox of University of Portland earned the win as the senior-to-be pitched 5.1 innings and gave up only 5 hits and two runs while striking out 3.

Game two of the WCLCS is set for Monday, August 17 at Vince Genna Stadium in Bend. The start time is 6:35 pm. Game three, if necessary, is scheduled for Tuesday, August 18 and would also be hosted by the Elks at Vince Genna with the same start time – 6:35 pm.