YAKIMA, Wash. — First-year Pippins head coach Kyle Krustangel has rounded out his coaching staff for the 2020 season with two assistants that aren’t strangers to the Yakima Valley.
Cash Ulrich, who has been Krustangel’s associate head coach at Yakima Valley College since 2016 and also helped Krustangel coach the Wenatchee AppleSox during the past three summers, will serve as head assistant coach for the Pippins this summer.
Kelly Fitzpatrick, who pitched for the Pippins in 2014 and 2015 and is currently an assistant coach at Skagit Valley College, will return to Yakima as pitching coach. He also pitched at YVC.
“I’m very excited about the coaching staff for this summer,” Krustangel said. “Cash has been with me at YVC since 2016, and we won an NWAC title and have coached over 400 games together. He’s as good as they get. The players love and respect him, and he is as hard of a worker as a coach as they come.”
Ulrich grew up in Spokane and attended Gonzaga Prep and Eastern Washington University, where he played club hockey for four years and helped lead EWU to two national tournament appearances. During that time, Ulrich also coached the club baseball program at EWU, coached freshman baseball at Gonzaga Prep and coached American Legion Baseball.
Ulrich will take charge of the defense, serve as infield coach, mental game coach and help work with hitters, Krustangel said.
Fitzpatrick is a “rising star” in the coaching ranks who will be a great benefit to the Pippins this summer, Krustangel said.
“Kelly is familiar with the area being a former Yak and Pippin, and he has a lot of pride in being a part of Yakima. Head coaches he has worked with have raved about his work ethic and how he handles the pitching staff,” Krustangel said.
After pitching for the Pippins, Fitzpatrick pitched for Whitworth University in 2016 and 2017. He also was head coach for the Spokane Expos during those two summers, then joined the Whitworth staff as a graduate assistant and pitching coach from 2017-19. In addition to various other coaching stints during that time period, Fitzpatrick joined Skagit Valley College as pitching coach last fall.
“I couldn’t be more excited to be back in a Pippins uniform,” Fitzpatrick said. “I had a great experience playing in Yakima, and I look forward to re-creating that environment for current student-athletes.”
The Pippins open their 57-game seventh West Coast League season on June 5 at Yakima County Stadium against four-time defending WCL champion Corvallis. Tickets for opening night, presented by Legends Casino Hotel, are available at PippinsTickets.com or by calling 509-575-4487.