Box Up the Brooms: Pippins Hold Off Bend in Series Finale
Over two seasons in the West Coast League, opponents have had a tough time sweeping the Pippins. The Bend Elks became the latest team to fall short in its quest to break out the brooms, as the Pippins held on for a 5-4 win in the series finale at County Stadium.
Yakima Valley (21-18) got off to a quick start, coring two runs in the 1st on a two-run single from Reid Martinez. After Bend (30-9) added a run in the 2nd, the Pippins got two more runs across in the 3rd. Alex Guenette executed a safety squeeze bunt and Josh Nashed brought in a run on a groundout to make it 4-1.
With starter Darrion Simons continuing to keep the Elks stuck on the bases, the Pippins picked up the decisive fifth run of the night in the 5th, when Nashed and Mitch Skaggs successfully worked a double steal.
Bend made things interesting in the 6th, collecting three straight two-out RBI singles against Simons to close within a run at 5-4, but reliever Kelly Fitzpatrick came on and ended the damage there. Fitzpatrick was tough over the next few innings as well, with the Elks continuing to create scoring chances. Bend stranded the tying runner on 3rd base in the 7th, then left the tying run on 2nd in the 8th. In total, Pippins pitching stranded 12 baserunners in Thursday’s win, despite allowing 12 hits.
Ryan Lillie came on to get the final out in the 8th and worked a scoreless ninth to pick up his first save of the season. With a series-salvaging win in the books, the Pippins will head to Wenatchee Friday through Sunday for their second series this season against the Applesox (17-22). The Pippins swept Wenatchee in their first series this year and will look to keep the momentum going in the series opener Friday at 7:05 p.m.
Tune in live on 1460 ESPN Yakima at 6:55.