Pippins Explode in 6th for First Win of 2017
YAKIMA – Leading 4-2 after five innings, it seemed that the Victoria HarbourCats were well on their way to a second straight road win over the Yakima Valley Pippins. It did not seem that way for much longer. Propelled on by a seven-run 6th inning the Pippins ran away with an 11-4 win over the HarbourCats for their first win of the 2017 West Coast League season at Yakima County Stadium on Saturday night.
The HarbourCats (2-1) scored the game’s first three runs for the second straight night, punching one across in the top of the 3rd and two more in the 4th. The Pippins (1-1) finally responded in their half of the 4th courtesy of a two-run home run over the right field fence by Michael Russo (Cal State Northridge). The HarbourCats quickly responded with a run in the top of the 5th inning and led the game 4-2 entering the bottom of the 6th.
The Pippins quickly loaded the bases with no outs to begin the frame against HarbourCats reliever Connor Whitney (Park University) after a Dustin Yates (Washington State) single, and then two walks to Michael Wyatt (Columbia Basin) and Russo. After Indigo Diaz (Iowa Western CC) relieved Whitney, the Pippins offensive fireworks began. The first batter to face Diaz, Steve Sordahl, (St. Martin’s) doubled in Yates and Wyatt to tie the game at four. Mitch Ellis (Western Illinois) then singled home Russo to give the Pippins their first lead of the game, but the Pippins were far from done, as Robert Ball (Central Washington) followed by tripling to score Ellis giving the Pippins a 6-4 lead. With four runs already across in the frame, Nick Plaia (Cal Baptist) helped add another, singling home Ball. Dillon Plew (Washington State) capped off the seven-run outburst in the frame with an RBI double to score Plaia. When all was said and done, the Pippins had scored seven runs on six hits in the frame, and had taken a 9-4 that they would not relinquish, and went on add two more runs in the bottom of the 8th inning, en route to a 11-4 win to even the series at a game piece.
The Pitching: Kade Woods (Spokane Falls CC) started the game and picked up the win for the Pippins, throwing eight strong innings while allowing four runs (three earned) and striking out four without walking a batter. Chris Dalto (Central Washington) relieved Woods in the 9th inning and got the first out of the frame before appearing to aggravate his throwing arm on a pitch to the HarbourCats’ Riley Guntrip (UBC). Connor White (Columbia Basin College) reliever Dalto and retired the final two batters of the game.
The Hitting: Plaia led the way for the Pippins with three hits including the RBI double in the 6th, and Russo added a double in the 7th to his home run in the 4th for a multi-hit game in his Pippins debut. Plew, Russo and Sordahl all drove in multiple runs for the Pippins who tallied 12 hits on the night.
Game Notes: Russo’s home run was the first for the Pippins on the young season. The seven runs scored by the Pippins in the 6th inning are the second most runs they have ever scored in a single inning, behind only the nine runs they scored on July 6, 2015 against the Walla Walla Sweets in the top of the 7th inning. Every Pippins player in the starting lineup recorded a hit in the game, and six of those players recorded an extra base hit. Both teams have now combined for four RBI-triples in the first two games of the series.
What’s Next: The rubber game of the series will take place on Sunday night. Hunter French (Columbia Basin) is scheduled to take the mound for the Pippins against Ethan Skuija (British Columbia) for the HarbourCats with first pitch set for 5:05 p.m. on Military Appreciation Day at Yakima County Stadium.
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.