Early Offense Paves Way for Win Over Highline
Wilson's longest appearance of the year complements potent offense
The Yakima Valley Pippins remain undefeated in non-league play with one game left after defeating the visiting Highline Bears 9-5 Friday night.
The Pippins exploded out of the gate, scoring eight of their runs in the first four innings. Meanwhile, Connor Wilson allowed four runs (two earned) over six innings while striking out four and walking four as well.
Highline’s Dylan Anders started the game with a walk, followed by Noah Pawlowski hitting a line drive over the head of center fielder Chase Graves, who chased it to the wall while Pawlowski pulled in with a triple. He would score when Ronnie Moss reached on an error by Alex Fernandes, who made his first start of the year at third base.
The Pippins would even the score in the bottom of the first, also started by an error by Anders at third base that allowed Bryce Martin-Grudzielanek to reach with one out. Taylor Holder doubled to put both players in scoring position, and Michael Carpentier Jr. knocked them both in with a double of his own.
The Pippins took the lead in the second inning after Peyton Stumbo walked and Chase Graves doubled to bring him home. Spencer Marenco reached on another error by Anders, and Taylor Holder sent Marenco to third with a single that scored Graves.
With runners on the corners, Holder attempted a delayed steal that drew a throw from the catcher. Holder got himself into a rundown long enough for Marenco to score before getting tagged out, and the Pippins took a 5-2 lead.
In the third inning, Corey Jarrell was on second base and Austin Plante was on first when the Pippins attempted a double steal. Highline catcher Kyle Casperson had trouble getting the ball from his glove to his hand and decided to try to get Plante at second base, but his throw sailed to center field, allowing Jarrell to score and Plante headed for third base. When center fielder Jaren Larson got to the ball, he threw to third base, but his throw was wide and got away from Anders, allowing Plante to score.
The Pippins held onto an 8-4 lead until the eighth inning. Ryan Arredondo had pitched the seventh without allowing a run, but in the eighth managed to record just one out while loading the bases with walks.
Case Matter was brought in to escape the jam, but he forced home a run with a walk to the first batter before striking out the next two to end the inning.
In the bottom of the eighth, Taylor Holder reached on the Bears’ sixth error of the game, then stole his second base of the night. Carpentier Jr. followed with a line drive in the gap in right-center that scored Holder as Carpentier Jr. pulled into third base with a triple.
Matter finished off the ninth inning, hitting one batter but striking out three to keep Highline from narrowing the lead.
Wilson earned the win for his efforts while Matter was credited with a five-out save.
The Pippins and Bears play Saturday night at 7:05 p.m., with fans receiving official team posters and players signing autographs after the games.
By Chris Rosato Jr.
July 31, 2021