Pippins Bats Stay Quiet in Loss to Cowlitz
YAKIMA, Wash. – Early Monday, the Yakima Valley Pippins were notified that six of their players had been selected to participate in next week’s West Coast League All-Star Game. The six selections were the second most in the WCL, second to only the Corvallis Knights, and they were well deserved, considering the Pippins had boasted one of the league’s best offenses in the first half of the season. Over the last two games, however, the bats, which had once carried the Pippins to high-scoring wins, were silenced by a Cowlitz Black Bears pitching staff that had entered the three game series ranked dead last in the WCL in ERA. After following up a Sunday loss, in which they scored a single run on a season-low four hits, with two runs on just six hits Monday, the Pippins fell 6-2 to Cowlitz to drop the three game home series.
Early on, the game was a pitcher’s duel between two left-handers, Cowlitz’s Corbin Powers (Portland) and the Pippins’ Josh Tedeschi (Utah), which each throwing two scoreless frames. Cowlitz (13-17, 2-1) finally broke through in the top of the third inning against Tedeschi on a two-out RBI single to take a 1-0 lead. The Pippins (14-16, 1-2) came right back with a run of their own in the bottom of the fourth, as Bradlee Beesley (Cal Poly-SLO) hit a sacrifice fly to bring in Steve Sordahl (St. Martin’s), who had tripled to begin the frame. After a quiet fifth, the Black Bears retook the lead in the top of the sixth on a Devlin Granberg (Dallas Baptist) solo home run, that carried over the right field wall with some help from a heavy breeze. Cowlitz then a run in both the seventh and eighth innings to take a commanding 4-1 lead to the bottom half of the frame.
The Pippins were able to halve the deficit in the home half of the eighth, as a Sordahl groundout brought in Tyler Bosetti (Nevada) from third, who had blooped a double into left field to begin the frame, which had gotten lost in the lights.
Cowlitz, who seemingly had every answer in the latter few games of the series, however, came right back with two crucial insurance runs in the top of the ninth to take a 6-2 lead, an advantage that held as the final score after the Pippins were retired in order.
Game Notes: Tedeschi gave the Pippins their third consecutive quality start in the series, going six innings while allowing the two earned runs on four hits with two walks and two strikeouts, but took the loss to fall to 1-3. Powers, who was named a WCL All-Star earlier in the day, and who entered the evening with 34 strikeouts, the fourth most in the league, was dominant throughout, going seven innings while scattering four hits and allowing the lone run en route to picking up his third win to improve to 3-2. Liam Herlihy (Wenatchee Valley CC) and Anthony Alvarado (Columbia Basin) could not keep it a one run game in relief of Tedeschi, with each allowing two runs in relief.
Sordahl, who was one of the Pippins named a WCL All-Star on Monday, tallied his team-leading tenth multi-hit contest, and recorded his second triple of the season. Beesley snapped an 0 for 14 skid with a single to right center in the bottom of the eighth. Dillon Plew (Washington State), who had reached base in 15 consecutive games, failed to reach in the game, snapping the longest on-base streak on the team this season. The Pippins totaled just 17 hits in the three game series (seven on Saturday, four on Sunday, and six tonight), a season-low for a three game series. Their previous low had been when they collected just 20 hits, en route to getting swept in Kelowna from June 17 to 19.
What It Means: The series win was the first for Cowlitz in their franchise history against Yakima Valley. They entered the series 1-8 all-time against the Pippins with their only win coming on August 3, 2016. The Pippins have now lost consecutive games for the fourth time this season. It is also the first time this season that the Pippins have lost consecutive games at home.
With the win, Cowlitz moves to two games back of the Corvallis Knights, whose season and WCL-long nine-game winning streak was snapped by the Kelowna Falcons. With the loss, the Pippins are now three back of Corvallis.
What’s Next: Cowlitz continues their six game road trip when they start a three game set in Wenatchee tomorrow night. The Pippins begin a pre-All-Star six-game road swing in Victoria on Tuesday when they start a three game series with the HarbourCats. Kade Woods (Spokane Falls, 4-2, 4.77 ERA) is set to make his seventh start against Victoria’s Taylor Prokopis (Colorado Mesa, 2-2, 3.10 ERA) with first pitch set for 6:35 p.m. from Royal Athletic Park.
ABOUT THE PIPPINS: The Yakima Valley Pippins compete in the West Coast League, one of the nation’s premier summer collegiate wood bat leagues. The Pippins play their home games at Yakima County Stadium (“The Orchard”) in Yakima, Washington. After winning 96 games during their first three seasons in the WCL, the Pippins set the mark as the winningest WCL expansion team after three years. Yakima County Stadium will play host to the 2017 West Coast League All-Star Game, along with an extensive 31-game home season for Year No. 4 of Pippins’ Baseball in 2017. Read more online at PippinsBaseball.com, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube with #ThatWasAwesome