Longballs Help Pippins Win Series Opener in Ridgefield

Pippins win season series, extend win streak to 12 games

The Yakima Valley Pippins were victorious in their return to West Coast League play and extended their win streak to 12 games with a 10-1 victory over the Ridgefield Raptors Tuesday.

Ridgefield starter Ryan Pitts kept the Pippins’ bats quiet for two innings, but Taylor Holder led off the third inning with a base hit and stolen base that sparked a three-run inning.

Holder moved to third when Connor Coballes grounded out and scored the first run of the game on Willie Lajoie’s second base hit of the night. Noah Williamson hit a 375-foot line drive to left field that easily cleared the fence for a two-run home run and a three-run Pippins lead.

Pitts (1-1, 5.68 ERA) was pulled after three innings in favor of Nick Nygard, who lasted two innings without allowing a run and struck out four. 

The Pippins tapped Seth Kuykendall to start, and he cruised through the first few innings, facing one more than the minimum number of batters through three innings. He walked two in the fourth inning but stranded them with help from Holder’s diving catch to end the inning.

In the fifth, the Raptors put together a string of hits (two doubles and a triple) to drive in their first run of the game, and Kuykendall issued a walk to load the bases with two outs.

Kuykendall (0-1, 2.55 ERA) was lifted from the jam, and Owen Wild was called upon to escape the inning. He struck out the Raptors’ cleanup hitter Will Chambers, and racked up seven more strikeouts as he cruised through the final 4.1 innings to earn his second win of the season and improve his ERA to 0.96.

Nygard was replaced in the sixth inning by Jacob Fried, who walked Austin Plante before giving up a home run to Taylor Holder to extend the Pippins lead to 5-1.

That lead would stand until the top of the ninth inning, when Raptors pitcher Joey Martin issued a walk and the Pippins earned three straight base hits to add one run before Ridgefield made a change.

Alex Shanks lined his first pitch from new pitcher Carson Walters to center field for a sacrifice fly, and Chaz Myers hit a line drive to left that bounced on the warning track before clearing the fence for a ground-rule double to score another run.

With two on and two out, Holder singled on a line drive to center field that allowed the two runners on base to score before he was thrown out at second base trying to advance on a throw home.

The Pippins and Raptors continue their series Wednesday at 6:35 p.m. as Ridgefield looks to avoid a second series loss.

By Chris Rosato Jr.

June 23, 2021