Spencer Marenco's two home runs lead the way
Spencer Marenco’s two home runs helped power the Yakima Valley Pippins to their fifth-straight victory, opening their series in Wenatchee against the AppleSox.
Pippins Head Coach Kyle Krustangel returned to the summer stadium he called home from 2017-19 with a splash as his new team downed the AppleSox, 15-5.
Chaz Myers started the scoring with a solo home run in the first inning. Wenatchee starter Jack Lee then had trouble throwing strikes, loading the bases and forcing home two runs with a combination of walks and hit batters. A fourth run scored due to a throwing error by catcher John Newman Jr. when he attempted a pickoff.
Spencer Marenco’s first home run came in the second inning, when he launched the first pitch of the inning to right field to give the Pippins a 5-0 lead.
Wenatchee put one run on the board against Pippins starter Kenny Johnson in the bottom of the second inning, with Newman working a full-count walk to start the inning. He moved to second when Luc Stuka grounded out and scored on a base hit by Tino Bethancourt.
Connor Coballes, making his return to the Pippins lineup for the first time since July 11, walked to start the fourth inning and stole his team-leading eighth base of the season. He moved to third base when Corey Jarrell grounded out and scored when Marenco doubled, giving the Pippins a 6-1 lead.
Chase Graves, who replaced Noah Williamson after Williamson was hit on the foot in the first inning, reached on a fielding error by Bethancourt at third base to start the fifth inning. Graves stole second base and scored on a double by Michael Carpentier Jr.
Willie Lajoie walked and Alex Shanks singled to load the bases with no outs. Coballes hit a grounder up the middle but was able to beat out the double play, scoring Carpentier Jr. from third and moving Lajoie up to third on the play.
Jarrell hit a hard grounder to the second baseman, whose only play was to retire Jarrell, scoring another run and moving Coballes to second base. Marenco then blasted another home run for two more runs, giving the Pippins an 11-1 lead.
Shanks had a two-run double in the sixth inning and a one-run double in the seventh, and Coballes notched an RBI base hit in the sixth to give the Pippins their 15 runs.
The AppleSox racked up five hits against Kenny Johnson in the sixth inning, scoring four runs before he was replaced by Payton Robertson with runners on the corners and two outs. Johnson (4-3, 5.54 ERA) left with a 14-5 lead and was credited with the win.
Robertson (1-2, 6.62 ERA) would go on to retire seven straight before Connor Wilson took over in the ninth. Wilson (0-0, 1.00 ERA) worked around a double in the inning, striking out two to finish the game without another run.
Krustangel looks for a series win against his old team Saturday, with first pitch scheduled for 6:35 p.m.