The worst fielding team in the West Coast League is turning its defense around and turning the tables on its opponents.
And believe it or not, those Bend Elks are in a playoff battle.
The Elks took advantage of two early Bellingham errors to score two runs and had another flawless performance in the field in a 10-0 win over the Bells on Tuesday evening at Vince Genna Stadium.
The Elks (4-4 second half, 16-19 overall), who won a third straight game for just the second time this summer, are a game behind Yakima Valley (15-16) for the second playoff spot in the South Division. If first-half winner Corvallis wins the second half, the team with the next-best overall record will make the playoffs.
The Elks lead the WCL with 63 errors but have had just three in their past five games. The Bells (2-3, 18-14) have 59 errors — including six Tuesday — the second-most in the league.
On Tuesday in the second inning, Matt Kroon singled, advanced to second on a stolen base, moved to third on an error by the catcher and scored on a passed ball. In the third inning, George Mendazona reached second on an error, advanced to third on an infield grounder and scored on Colton Cosner’s single.
Kroon hit a two-run homer, his second of the season, in the sixth inning. The Elks added six runs in the seventh to pull away.
Elks starter Grant Larson (1-2) scattered six hits and a walk over six innings and struck out five. Matthew Kirk and All-Star Khalil Rivera struck out seven over the final three innings in the Elks’ second shutout of the season.
The Elks can complete their first series sweep this summer with a win Wednesday night. First pitch is scheduled for 6:35 p.m.
— Bulletin staff report