After suffering an entire summer without semi-pro baseball in the Yakima Valley, the Yakima Valley Pippins have announce their preparations for a return to West Coast League play in 2021.

For obvious reasons, The 2020 WCL season was scratched. Although the entire campaign never materialized, the league expanded to a total of 15 teams for the upcoming season with the addition of three new Canadian franchises. The Pippins will host one of those teams, the Kamloops NorthPaws, in the season-opening three-game series at Yakima County Stadium starting June 4.

 In a press release, Pippins General Manager Jeff Garretson said, “It’s been a frustrating year for everyone, everywhere. We’re looking forward to getting back on the diamond next summer and helping to build a sense of normalcy and community again.”

The Pippins will play a 32-game home schedule — up from a planned 30-game schedule for 2020 — and will host nine of the league’s other 14 teams at home. Likewise, Yakima Valley will visit nine teams next summer. The Pippins will round out their home schedule with five nonleague games.

Yakima Valley will host Kamloops, Ridgefield, Corvallis, Walla Walla, Bellingham, Kelowna, Bend, Cowlitz and Wenatchee. The Pippins will travel to each of those teams except Cowlitz, and will travel to Port Angeles instead.

In previous years, each team played nearly every other team in the league. But with expansion, extensive travel time, travel expenses, and available playing dates forced the league’s board of directors to take a different approach to scheduling.

COVID-19 also played a role in development of the league schedule. The league intends to limit long-distance travel as a safety and cost-effective measure.

Season tickets and vouchers are currently on sale at PippinsTickets.com or by calling 509-575-4487, with holiday discounts available through the end of the year. Single-game tickets will go on sale in January.

The Pippins 2021 schedule:

JUNE: 4-6 — vs. Kamloops; 8-10 — at Bellingham; 11-13 — vs. Ridgefield; 15-17 — at Wenatchee; 19-21 — vs. Corvallis; 22-24 — at Ridgefield; 25-27 — vs. Walla Walla; 29-30 — Cascade Collegiate Showcase.

JULY: 1 — vs. NW Star; 2-4 — at Bend; 5-7 — at Walla Walla; 9-11 — vs. Bellingham; 13-15 — vs. Kelowna; 16-18 — at Kamloops; 20-22 — vs. Bend; 23-25 — at Kelowna; 27-29 — vs. Cowlitz; 30-31 — vs. Highline.

AUGUST: 3-5 — at Corvallis; 6-8 — at Port Angeles; 10-12 — vs. Wenatchee.

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