SELAH, Wash. – John Albert homered to lead off the bottom of the 11th inning Saturday night to give Bellingham a 10-9 win over the Spokane Bandits in the title game of the American Legion Senior state tournament.
Bellingham advances to the regional tournament, which begins Thursday in Billings. Seven states will be represented at the event.
Bellingham entered the day as the only team to make it through the eight-team event with a spotless record after three days. The Bandits came in with one loss and needed to beat Bellingham twice to advance.
The Bandits opened the day by banging out 19 hits during a 9-5 win over Bellingham.
Gerhard Muelheims and Joshua Martin had four hits apiece to support Cameron Poland, who scattered 10 hits and struck out four.
Muelheims, the leadoff hitter, also scored four times. Martin had a two-run single during a four-run fifth as the Bandits seized a 6-3 lead.
In the championship game, the Bandits (31-17) blew leads of 3-0 in the first, 8-5 in the eighth and 9-8 in the 10th.
Two errors, a hit batter and a wild pitch helped the Bandits take a 3-0 lead in the first.
Anthony Pitsch’s two-out grand slam in the third put Bellingham ahead 4-3.
Jack Frost’s sacrifice fly in the fourth extended the lead to 5-3.
Matthew Miller’s two-run single in the fifth allowed the Bandits to tie.
Martin’s homer in a two-run seventh helped the Bandits regain the lead. Martin also had an RBI single in the 10th.
David Machtolf pitched the whole game for the Bandits.