Streaking Pippins are Eastern Division Champions!
The Yakima Valley Pippins battled, scratched and clawed their way to a 7-6 win over the Cowlitz Black Bears on Wednesday night at County Stadium to clinch the Eastern Division of the West Coast League.
The Pippins (33-18) are the first expansion team to win a division and just the second to make the playoffs in their first year. The team's final regular-season home game also produced the Pippins' 10th straight win.
Yakima's Kyle Thomson got things rolling Wednesday night, laying down a safety squeeze bunt that sent Andrew Castillo flying down the third base line and sliding under the attempted tag of Casey Worden.
The fireworks started early with the Black Bears scoring three in the top of the first inning, but Reid Martinez hit a sacrifice fly to put the first Pippins on the board and bring Yakima to within 3-1.
In the second inning, three RBIs from Justin Jacobs and Mitch Skaggs gave the Pippins a 4-3 lead. Kyle Thomson gave a preview of would happen later in the game with an RBI single, making the score 5-3 Pippins at the end of the third inning.
In the sixth, Cowlitz scored two more runs, then Yakima's Casey Worden hit an RBI double to tie the game at 5-all.
But after the Bears had taken a 6-5 lead off a single by Jonathan Serven, the Pippins got a big blast off the bat of Justin Jacobs, who hit his first home run of the season to tie it at 6. Kenny Rosenberg then came out of the bullpen in the ninth to shut down the Black Bears attack.
And in the bottom of the ninth, with one out and Pippins runners on first and third, Kyle Thomson executed a safety squeeze bunt that landed in front of the Bears pitcher, who flipped the ball back to catcher Casey Worden a millisecond too late, allowing Andrew Castillo to slide under the tag for a dramatic walk-off score.
The run gave the Pippins a 7-6 win, and another series sweep.
The Pippins travel to Wenatchee on Friday for the last three games of the regular season. First pitch is at 7:05 p.m. and pregame is at 6:55 on 1460 ESPN Yakima.