Pippins Withstand Wenatchee’s Rally to Complete Sweep
YAKIMA, Wash. – Leading 6-0 entering the top of the fifth inning on Friday night, the Yakima Valley Pippins were pulling out the brooms to gear up for a series sweep of the Wenatchee AppleSox. All of a sudden, however, the tides turned, as the AppleSox put together five unanswered runs to cut the deficit to one. The Pippins, sensing the momentum shift, called upon Connor White (Portland), to stop the bleeding by getting a six out save. White did just that, holding Wenatchee scoreless and hitless over the eighth and ninth innings to secure his seventh save of the season and preserve the 6-5 victory as the Pippins completed the sweep to keep pace with the Cowlitz Black Bears in the WCL South.
For the third straight night, the Pippins (20-19, 7-5) scored first, but this time around did not wait until the second inning. After Steve Sordahl (St. Martin’s) and Tora Otsuka (San Diego) drew walks to begin the game against Wenatchee left-hander, McKade Cottrell (Gonzaga), both runners were moved into scoring position by a Dillon Plew (Washington State) sacrifice bunt. Daniel Cope (Cal State Fullerton) proceeded to take advantage of having the runners in scoring position, as he ripped a double down the left field line to plate the two runs and give the Pippins a 2-0 lead. The Pippins were not finished in the frame, however, as after a fly-out, Bradlee Beesley (Cal Poly-SLO) lined a single to right-center, which resulted in Cope coming home following a throwing error, to give the Pippins a three-run first inning.
The score stayed that way until the bottom of the third, when the Pippins loaded up the bases following singles from Plew and Lucas Denney (Seattle U), and a hit-by-pitch on Beesley. Switch-hitter, Mitch Ellis (Western Illinois), then came up clutch with two outs, as he lined a bases-clearing double down the left field line to give the Pippins a 6-0 lead.
Pippins’ starter, Josh Tedeschi (Utah), did not allow a hit until the fifth inning, but it was in that frame that Wenatchee (21-18, 6-6) finally broke through, as they plated two runs on three hits to cut the deficit to 6-2.
In the sixth, Tedeschi saw the leadoff man reach on an error by second baseman, Tyler Bosetti (Nevada), and then left the game, only to watch reliever, Liam Herlihy (Wenatchee Valley CC) struggle to get the three outs in the frame, as the AppleSox plated two more runs on another three hits to cut the Pippins’ lead to 6-4. Wenatchee’s rally continued in the seventh, as they scored another off Herlihy before Dustin Yates (Washington State) came on in relief and finished off the frame.
Leading 6-5 heading into the top of the eighth, the Pippins handed the ball to White to try for the six out and save, and he did just that, stifling Wenatchee hitters with a heavy dosage of fastballs. Wenatchee did put the tying run on first base in the ninth while having the go-ahead run at the plate, but they could not cash in, as White shut the door by inducing a pair of groundballs to preserve the 6-5 victory.
Game Notes: Tedeschi worked five innings while allowing three runs (two earned) on three hits en route to picking up his second win to improve to 2-3. Tedeschi got some revenge on Wenatchee, who scored eight runs off of him in the fourth inning of their 25-8 win over Yakima Valley on June 12. White’s six-out save was his first this season. His longest outing in a save situation prior to tonight had been when he got the final four outs in a 4-1 Pippins win over Gresham on June 16. In picking up his seventh save, he is one behind Victoria’s Travis Kuhn for the WCL lead. Cottrell went six innings and allowed six runs (five earned) en route to picking up his second loss to fall to 0-2, but he did throw three scoreless frame in the latter half of his outing. The Pippins allowed just 11 runs total for the three game series, a season low.
Ellis’ three runs batted in tonight were his first runs driven in since July 9 against Cowlitz. It was his first multi-RBI game since he drove in a Pippins’ individual season-high five runs on July 2 against Kelowna, which also included a walk-off bases-clearing double in the bottom of the ninth. Beesley, who entered the game 5 for his last 36, tallied a multi-hit outing for the first time since he recorded two hits against Kelowna, including a home run, on July 3. On July 14, Beesley’s average had slipped below .300 for the first time since he went hitless in four at-bats in his debut on June 18 at Kelowna.
What It Means: With the win, the Pippins take the season series 4-2, after Wenatchee won two of three games at home from June 11 to 13 including a 25-8 win on June 12. The sweep was the first in the history of the Pippins-AppleSox head-to-head matchups. The Pippins now hold a 18-12 edge over Wenatchee all-time, and are back to .500 at 7-7 at home.
The Pippins’ sweep was their second of the season and their first since they swept Bend from June 27 to 29. The Pippins are back over .500 at 20-19 overall for the first time since they were 13-12 after beating Kelowna on July 2.
The Pippins stay two games back in the WCL South second half standings of the Cowlitz Black Bears, who stunned the Port Angeles Lefties with a ninth inning rally on Friday night. Despite the loss, Wenatchee remains 1.5 games back of Victoria for first place in the WCL North second half standings, as the HarbourCats fell to Bellingham.
What’s Next: Wenatchee will head home and begin a three-game set with Bellingham tomorrow night.
The Pippins continue their six-game post All-Star Break homestand when they start a three-game set with the Corvallis Knights, owners of the West Coast League’s best record, on Saturday. Right-hander Kade Woods (Spokane Falls CC, 4-3, 6.65 ERA) will make his team-leading ninth start for the Pippins against Corvallis’ right-hander, Trenton Toplikar (UC Riverside, 2-0, 5.60), who will make his fourth start. Woods, who over the course of his first four starts held a 3-1 record with a 3.80 ERA and 21 strikeouts to four walks, has a 12.29 ERA with 12 strikeouts and 14 walks in his last four outings, including a season low 2 1/3 innings worked with eight runs allowed in his latest start in Bellingham on June 16.
First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m. from 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, and won their 100th game on July 13, 2017, to become the third-fastest WCL franchise to reach 100 wins. Yakima County Stadium recently played host to the 2017 West Coast League All-Star Game and includes 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.