Pippins overcome three-run deficit for first time this season
For the second time in a week, Blake Dickman changed the game with a swing of his bat.
In the bottom of the fourth inning of Sunday’s game against Bellingham, Dickman launched a three-run home run 412 feet to left field to tie the game up 3-3.
His blast on Sunday followed a two-run home run Monday that broke a 3-3 tie in Walla Walla, giving the Pippins a lead they would not relinquish as they went on to win and secure the first half title in the North Division.
The Bells took an early lead Sunday after Daniel Gernon and Yugo Hamakawa led off the game with singles and Charlie Saum singled home Gernon for a 1-0 lead.
In the fourth inning, Ty Saunders started the inning with a well-placed bunt down the third base line to reach first, followed by a single by A.J. Davis. They were moved over by a sacrifice bunt from Ezra Samperi and driven in by Emilio Corona’s second two-run double in as many games to give Bellingham a 3-0 lead.
Will Armbruester started on the mound for Bellingham and was nearly perfect through three innings, with Chase Graves collecting the lone hit off him in the third inning on his birthday.
In the fourth, Connor Coballes hit a soft ground ball to second base and reached when Hamakawa overthrew the first baseman. Sam Olsson singled and they both moved up a base when Armbruester walked.
Dickman’s home run came with one out in the inning and was hit 103 miles-per-hour off the bat, clearing the fence just to the left of the scoreboard.
Armbruester retired the next 11 batters following the home run and left after seven innings of work with the game tied.
Pippins starter Seth Kuykendall (1-2, 3.47 ERA) was lifted after four innings in favor of Tyler Frieders, who kept Bellingham scoreless in five innings while allowing three hits, walking one and striking out six.
In the bottom of the eighth, Bryce Martin-Grudzielanek hit a line drive that nearly cleared the 16-foot high outfield fence at Yakima County Stadium, but he was forced to settle with a double instead. One out later, Chaz Myers singled to left field to score Martin-Grudzielanek to put the Pippins in front for the first time in the game.
Frieders (3-1, 2.42 ERA) closed the door in the ninth to hold onto the win.
The Pippins will take Monday off before kicking off a series against the Highline Bears Tuesday at 6:35 p.m. with a Toyota Tuesday Family Night Out.