Fantastic Start by Leaverton Sets up Game 1 Win

YAKIMA, Wash.- The Pippins have now won 3 of their last 4 games after a 14 hit performance was matched with great pitching in an 11-7 win over the Springfield Drifters.

Blake Leaverton made his 8th appearance and 3rd start of the year for the Pippins and put out his best effort so far.

The freshman at Seattle University finished 7-innings of work which ties the longest a Pippins starter has gone into a game this year. He did not allow a walk and only allowed 1 run while striking out 3.

The first inning started rocky for the Yakima native, when the Drifters picked up 3 hits including an RBI double to take the lead.

A good relay from Owen McWilliam and Connor Coballes gunned down a runner at the plate but the top of the first would end with the Drifters in front 1-0.

After that Leaverton hit his stride, retiring 9 straight batters into the 4th inning and leaving Springfield with their 1 run.

The Pippins answered back in the bottom of the 4th on a 2-out 2-RBI single from Aiden Van Rensum. His 2nd and 3rd RBI’s of the year gave the Pippins a 2-1 advantage.

Another scoreless 5th from Leaverton set up a monster inning at the plate for Yakima Valley. 4 hits, 3 errors, and a hit-by-pitch pushed across 6 runs.

This stretch was highlighted by a 2-RBI single from Shayne Simpson and the Pippins exited the 5th inning in front 8-1.

A Tyler Griggs sacrifice fly and an intentional rundown scored 2 more in the 6th to put the Pippins in double digits.

Leaverton exited in the 7th and Reilly McAdams came in and retired the side in order.

Jake Borst added an RBI single in the 8th and the final frame would start with an 11-1 Yakima Valley lead.

The Pippins struggled to find the zone in the 9th and 4 walks, 2 hit-by-pitches, and a pair of hits allowed 6 runs to cross for the Drifters, but Isaac Yeager came on to secure the final out and the Pippins took the opening game of the series.

“Run support is so big as a pitcher, it keeps your momentum going,” says Blake Leaverton. “It was just great to see.”

The Pippins look to win their second straight series with a 7:05 matchup on Saturday, with the broadcast starting at 6:45 on Pippins Baseball Youtube.

By Zach McKinstry

July 2, 2022