Pippins, Knights to settle series Friday
Following a summer without West Coast League baseball in 2020, the 2021 season will finally reach an exciting conclusion Friday night after the Corvallis Knights avoided being swept in the WCL Championship Series by edging out the Pippins Thursday, 2-1.
Both starting pitchers turned in terrific outings. Ty Uber started for the Knights, allowing just one run over six innings while limiting the Pippins to three hits. He also struck out three without issuing a walk.
His lone blemish came in the top of the third inning, when Alex Shanks led off with a double that bounced over the wall in left field, moved to third on a groundout and scored on a sacrifice fly by Connor Coballes.
That was all the offense the Pippins would be able to post against Uber despite a leadoff double in the fourth by Sam Olsson.
Kenny Johnson started for the Pippins, and was solid with the exception of the third inning. He allowed a leadoff single to Spencer Scott, walked Riley Way and Travis Bazzana laid down a bunt single to load the bases with no outs.
After Johnson struck out Briley Knight, Nick Vogt hit a weak bouncing ball to shortstop that was cutoff by Chaz Myers from third, but he threw the ball away at first, and two runs scored on the play.
After taking their 2-1 lead, Vogt stole second base and Johnson walked Kiko Romero before striking out Tanner Smith and Kyler Stancato to get out of the inning. Johnson finished with nine strikeouts in five innings and walked two to go with six hits.
Julian Taudin-Chabot pitched a scoreless sixth inning despite allowing a two-out walk and single, striking out Way to escape the jam.
Payton Robertson came out for the seventh and struck out Bazzana, but he hit Knight and walked Vogt, and the Pippins turned to Dylan Bishop.
Bishop got out of the inning with a strikeout and lineout, then pitched a scoreless eighth inning to hold the Knights to a one-run lead, but the Pippins offense struggled.
Sean Wiese and Connor Redmond split the final three innings for the Knights. Wiese allowed a walk and hit in 1.2 innings, and Redmond recorded the final four outs for the save. He struck out the last two batters he faced to slam the door.
The West Coast League season will finally come to an end Friday, with game three being played in Corvallis at 6:35 p.m.