Pippins Spoil AppleSox Wild Card Bid, Prepare for Bellingham
The Yakima Valley Pippins always have their baskets full when it comes to playing the Wenatchee AppleSox. Saturday was no exception, but the Pippins finally broke their six-game losing streak against the Sox with a 7-6, extra-inning nail-biter in Wenatchee.
The win raises Yakima -- which has already claimed the West Coast League's East Division championship -- to 34-19. The loss, however, eliminates the AppleSox, who entered the game tied with Bend for a wild card spot.
The Pippins got on the scoreboard early in the first inning Saturday, when Mitch Skaggs notched an RBI that drove in Shawn Wardian. But the starting pitcher for the AppleSox had a hot bat, too, and helped tie the game at 1 with a solo HR.
Vince Fernandez answered for the Pippins, lacing a two-run homer in the fourth. Justin Jacobs then rang up an RBI single to make the score 4-1 Pippins.
Wenatchee didn't let that stand for long, though. They scored three in the bottom of the fifth inning to tie it up.
Fernandez hit another HR in the sixth to give him the lead WCL in home runs with nine. His 47 RBI mark is only one away from tying the WCL single-season record.
Trailing 5-4, Wenatchee got the benefit of a throwing error to score two runs that gave the AppleSox the lead in the seventh. But the Pippins' Ryan Yamane hit a sacrifice fly to tie the game again at 6 apiece.
In the eighth and ninth, the defense stepped up for both teams, topping any kind of threat to break out of the tie and forcing the game into extra innings. In the top of the 10th, the Pippins caught the breaks they needed -- a batter hit by a pitch, two bunts and another sacrifice fly from Yamane and Yakima had a 7-6 win.
The game's outcome settles the four-team playoff picture: As the wild card team, Bend (31-22) will face South Division champion Corvallis (35-18), while Yakima will host the Bellingham Bells (36-17), the West Division champs.
Yakima and Wenatchee play the season-ender tonight, then the Pippins will return home to face the Bells at County Stadium on Tuesday night. Playoff tickets are already on sale and going fast, according to the Pippins head office.
Playoff tickets are available online at PippinsBaseball.com or by phone, 509-575-4487.
Meantime, first pitch for tonight's Pippins-AppleSox matchup is at 6:05, with pregame coverage beginning at 5:55 on 1460 ESPN Yakima.