YVC pair among six players coming back originally signed for 2020 season
YAKIMA, Wash. — A pair of Yakima Valley College Yaks slated to play for the Yakima Valley Pippins in 2020 will return next summer — and they’re bringing two more teammates as well.
Middle infielder Connor Coballes and catcher Josh Davis were scheduled to play for the Pippins in 2020 before the West Coast League season was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Their YVC season was also cut short by the pandemic after just 12 games.
Coballes is a 5-foot-11 sophomore from Spokane, who also will spend some time on the mound for the Pippins. Davis is a 6-foot freshman from Bothell.
“I’m excited to bring back Josh and Connor again summer after they were supposed to play for the Pippins in 2020,” Pippins manager Kyle Krustangel said. “Both are great leaders and will be guys to build the summer culture around.”
Krustangel, YVC’s skipper in the spring, also is adding a pair of YVC freshman starting pitchers to the Pippins.
Tyler Frieders is a 6-foot-1 right-hander from Billings, Mont., who had pitched 11.1 innings in three appearances with the Yaks this spring. Dann Blanchard, a 6-foot-3 right-hander who also hails from Billings, tossed 15 innings in his three appearances, striking out 13 and compiling a 1.80 ERA.
“All four of these guys play at the West Coast League level, and they all were signed to play with different teams across the league this past year,” Krustangel said. “I know the work ethic and compete factor are high in each of them.”
Besides Coballes and Davis, four other players signed for the 2020 season will play for the Pippins next summer: Reagan Haas, a former Riverside Christian standout from Wapato, and Owen Wild of Gig Harbor, both right-handed pitchers at Gonzaga; right-hander Seth Kuykendall of Spokane, who pitched for Krustangel at YVC in 2018 and 2019; and outfielder Corey Jarrell of Brewster.
Haas earned a win with three innings of relief work against Washington State on March 10 before the season was shut down. He struck out two and gave up four hits in that appearance.
The Pippins will open their seventh WCL season at Yakima County Stadium on June 4. Season tickets, mini season ticket plans and ticket vouchers are already on sale at PippinsTickets.com. Single-game tickets for all 32 Pippins home games will go on sale in early 2021.Read Less
Yakima Valley starts seventh season at home against new Kamloops team
YAKIMA, Wash. — After a summer without collegiate baseball in the Yakima Valley, the Pippins are preparing to return to West Coast League play next June.
The 2020 WCL season was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the lost season, the league grew to 15 teams for 2021 by adding three new Canadian franchises. The Pippins will host one of those teams, the Kamloops NorthPaws, in the season-opening three-game series at Yakima County Stadium beginning June 4.
“It’s been a frustrating year for everyone, everywhere. We’re looking forward to getting back on the diamond next summer and helping to build a sense of normalcy and community again,” Pippins general manager Jeff Garretson said. “Adding three new teams for 2021 gives us all another reason to be excited about the return of summer collegiate baseball.”
The Pippins will play a 32-game home schedule — up from a planned 30-game schedule for 2020 — and will host nine of the league’s other 14 teams at home. Likewise, Yakima Valley will visit nine teams next summer. The Pippins will round out their home schedule with five nonleague games.
Yakima Valley will host Kamloops, Ridgefield, Corvallis, Walla Walla, Bellingham, Kelowna, Bend, Cowlitz and Wenatchee. The Pippins will travel to each of those teams except Cowlitz, and will travel to Port Angeles instead.
In previous years, each team played nearly every other team in the league. But with expansion, extensive travel time, travel expenses, and available playing dates forced the league’s board of directors to take a different approach to scheduling.
COVID-19 also played a role in development of the league schedule.
“The approach is to still play as many teams as we could with an eye toward limiting long-distance travel and costs and keeping safety for everyone top of mind,” Garretson said. “We want fans to see as many of the league’s great players as we can, while also acknowledging we may need to be flexible with ongoing pandemic-related issues and restrictions that communities may be facing at the time.
“Our No. 1 focus is safety for fans, staff, players and coaches of all teams,” Garretson added. “No one can predict right now what things will look like next spring and summer, but we’ll actively work with local health officials and abide by the local and state guidelines to keep us all safe.”
For 2021, the Pippins won’t face the other two new teams to the league — the Edmonton Riverhawks and the Nanaimo NightOwls — and also won’t play Victoria or Portland.
Because of the increased number of teams, the league’s playing season will start on June 1 and end Aug. 12 — an addition of three days at the beginning of the summer and four at the end. The league also suspended the All-Star Game for 2021.
Division alignments and the WCL’s playoff format will be announced later, Garretson said.
Season tickets and vouchers are currently on sale at PippinsTickets.com or by calling 509-575-4487, with holiday discounts available through the end of the year. Single-game tickets will go on sale in January.
Download the 2021 Pippins schedule here.Read Less
Fans can roll over 2020 tickets to 2021 season; coaching staff, several players expected to return
YAKIMA, Wash. — On what would have been the originally scheduled Opening Day of the 2020 West Coast League season, the Yakima Valley Pippins reluctantly announce the cancellation of their season because of health and safety concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic in Yakima County.
“Safety of our fans, players and coaches, host families and staff are our top priority, and current conditions aren’t favorable for us to hold a season,” Pippins general manager Jeff Garretson said. The COVID infection numbers and the county’s slow progression through the state’s reopening guidelines also contributed to the decision, he said.
“The Pippins are committed to return in 2021 because sports bring us together with a sense of community. Baseball can remind us of the best things in life, especially during this current time of pandemic and social unrest,” Garretson continued. “Sports are a powerful force for equity for players and for fans, and we can’t wait to share that experience again at The Orchard next year.”
Garretson said team officials had been working on developing plans to safely reopen Yakima County Stadium with additional health and safety protocols and limited fan seating. But with gatherings limited to fewer than 50 people until Phase 4 of Gov. Jay Inslee’s reopening guidelines, the likelihood of getting to Phase 4 before many of the team’s players would have to prepare to return to college wouldn’t provide time for a viable season.
“We wouldn’t be able to provide the experience for our fans, our sponsors or our players that would meet our expectations,” Garretson said.
The West Coast League’s regular-season schedule was to end Aug. 9, with playoffs to follow.
Earlier this spring, the league’s two British Columbia teams (Victoria and Kelowna), two teams in Oregon (Bend and Corvallis) and one team in Washington (Bellingham) canceled their seasons because of state, provincial or local restrictions. Seven remaining teams — Portland, Port Angeles, Ridgefield, Cowlitz, Wenatchee, Walla Walla, and Yakima — were working on a shorter season that would have started in mid-July and run deeper into August.
But when Yakima County couldn’t advance to Phase 2 of reopening on time, it scuttled the Pippins’ hopes of salvaging a 2020 season. Walla Walla, Port Angeles, Ridgefield and Cowlitz also announced season cancellations today.
Despite the cancellation, Garretson remains hopeful for some events at The Orchard later this summer, and is excited about pivoting to the 2021 season:
• Once the county moves to Phase 3 of reopening, which would allow groups of up to 50, the Pippins still expect to hold youth baseball camps for ages 7-18.
“With high school, Little League and college seasons canceled throughout the area, we know players of all ages will want to keep improving their skills, and we expect our camps would help fill that need,” Garretson said.
• The Pippins coaching staff of Kyle Krustangel, Cash Ulrich and Kelly Fitzpatrick are expected to return for the 2021 season.
• Several local players who had signed to play for the Pippins in 2020 are expected to return for the 2021 season, including Regan Haas (Wapato; Gonzaga), Cort Dietrich (Selah; Montana State Univ. Billings) and Xander Orejudos (Ellensburg; Georgia Gwinnett). Two players whom Krustangel coaches during the spring at Yakima Valley College, Connor Coballes (Spokane) and Josh Davis (Bothell), also are expected to return, as are several other players.
• The Pippins will have a 32-game home schedule in 2021, up from 30 scheduled home games in 2020.
“Season ticket members with 2020 tickets will be able to roll over their tickets automatically to next year — and they’ll receive tickets to two additional games at no additional charge,” Garretson said. Season ticket memberships for new buyers will go on sale later this month, he added.
• Team officials already have begun contacting ticket buyers and sponsors about the canceled season, and options for moving purchases and sponsorship packages to next season.
“So far, ticket holders’ and sponsors’ reactions mirror ours — disappointment with no Pippins baseball this year, but excitement for next year,” Garretson said. “The overwhelming majority are rolling their investments forward into 2021, and I couldn’t be more humbled by the trust and faith we’ve been able to build with them over the past several seasons.”
• Earlier this offseason, the Pippins extended their lease of Yakima County Stadium with State Fair Park for another three years, Garretson said.
• The WCL today announced the 2021 league season will begin Friday, June 4, 2021. The Pippins will open at home that day, with the opponent to be announced when the league schedule is released this fall.
• The 12 current teams in the WCL will be joined next year by an expansion team in Naniamo, British Columbia, which joined the league earlier this spring.Read Less
Team preparing for seventh season with delayed opening
YAKIMA, Wash. – As the coronavirus pandemic continues to affect lives across the nation and the world, the Yakima Valley Pippins remain committed to a 2020 collegiate baseball season at Yakima County Stadium this summer.
The West Coast League announced today a delayed start for the season, originally scheduled for June 5, to early July, based on recent announcements from governing officials in Washington, Oregon and British Columbia, the states and province in which the league’s 12 teams are located.
“The situation is constantly evolving, and the only thing we know right now is that a June 5 opening is not an option,” Pippins general manager Jeff Garretson said. “Delaying until July allows us to continue to monitor the local progress of the outbreak and prepare and adapt for a safe experience for players, fans, staff and others at the ballpark.”
Garretson added that the team will adhere to all local, state and federal guidelines.
“Sports are an important part of our collective consciousness as a nation, and we’re definitely missing them right now,” he said. “Locally, baseball has a long and storied history, and we feel we can play a big role in helping the community heal and repair a sense of normalcy that we don’t have currently.”
Because of other state or provincial restrictions, some WCL teams will not be fielding teams this summer, the league announcement stated. But all 12 teams are committed to playing in 2021, and a 13th team in Nanaimo, British Columbia, will join the WCL next year.
Garretson said the delayed start also gives the team time to prepare for a different experience this year.
“This certainly will not be the experience we’ve seen over the past six years,” Garretson said. “We will have limited seating available to maintain social distancing practices, for example. We’ll likely be moving to a cashless experience onsite for ticket sales, merchandise sales and concessions. We’ll utilize a new concessions app to order and pay online to limit lines. We’re working through all those scenarios and will work with Yakima County and the Health Department to provide a safe family-friendly experience when the time is right.”
A revised schedule will be released in the next several weeks, Garretson said. In the meantime, all online ticket sales have been halted while a new schedule is built. All previously purchased tickets will be valid in the revised summer schedule and single-game and group ticket buyers will be able to transfer those tickets to new games as needed, he added.Read Less
As uncertainty grips the world, team and league remain committed to all constituents
During the past several days, our lives have been changing so quickly because of the COVID-19 virus that we are all struggling to keep up. As with your families, our priority at this moment is the health and safety of all members of Pippins Baseball, from our staffs to our players, from our fans and business partners to our host families, all of whom have helped build the Pippins into a community asset over the past six years.
The Pippins remain committed to the Yakima Valley and the incredible people who help make this valley an exceptional place to live. We also remain committed to playing West Coast League baseball at Yakima County Stadium this summer, but only when it is safe to do so, and in accordance with local, state and federal guidelines. We will continue to monitor the changing dynamics closely, and respond appropriately.
Baseball in the Yakima Valley has been one of the many ways we connect with each other. While we share the disappointment with all local high school athletes and the collegiate athletes who are not playing the sports they love at this time, we are comforted knowing the drive and determination inside each of them will help them persevere. We’re looking forward to seeing them on the playing field again.
In the meantime, the Pippins urge residents to follow the local, state and federal guidelines to not only keep yourselves safe, but to keep your families and neighbors safe as well. Wash your hands. Practice social distancing. Be patient with each other. And look out for one another.
YAKIMA, Wash. – A pitcher and catcher from Gonzaga University and a Western Oregon University pitcher with ties to the Yakima Valley are slated to join the Pippins when they open their season at home against Corvallis in June.
Catcher Stephen Lund and right-handed pitcher Owen Wild will join fellow Zag Reagan Haas (Riverside Christian) in Yakima, while former Yakima Valley Yak Seth Kuykendall will join the Pippins following his first season at Western Oregon.
Lund, a redshirt freshman, started behind the plate for three of Gonzaga’s first four games during the Sanderson Ford College Baseball Classic in Surprise, Arizona, on Feb. 14-17. The 5-foot-10 right-hander from Verona, Wisconsin, hit .231 to help his team to a 2-2 record over the weekend.
“Stephen is an elite defender with definitely a plus bat for a Division I catcher, but a guy that’s going to play a majority of games for the Zags, who look to be on top of the West Coast Conference,” said Pippins coach Kyle Krustangel, who stressed the importance of bringing in a veteran to work with younger catchers like Josh Davis, a YVC freshman who will be joining the Pippins for the summer as well. “It’s a great learning opportunity for Josh … and at the same time, it’s nice to have a guy that’s handling elite arms over there at Gonzaga.”
Wild, a 6-foot-3 senior at Gig Harbor High School, will get his first taste of collegiate competition with the Pippins before beginning his freshman year at Gonzaga in the fall. He owns Gig Harbor’s single-season strikeout record after retiring 112 batters in 78 innings last season.
Kuykendall is no stranger to Krustangel or the Yakima Valley, as he played with the Yaks for two seasons before transferring to Western Oregon last fall. Last season, the right-hander started 11 games for YVC, completing two of them while compiling a 7-2 record and 2.92 ERA. He also pitched for Krustangel’s former West Coast League team, the Wenatchee AppleSox, last summer, striking out 43 batters over 41.1 innings along the way to a 2.17 ERA.
“I’m thrilled to have Seth back. Seth’s a fan favorite,” Krustangel said. “I would imagine him coming to be a starter. He’s got a four-pitch mix, a strike thrower who had a lot of success last summer and threw in one of our playoff games.”Read Less
YVC assistant Cash Ulrich, former Pippins pitcher Kelly Fitzpatrick will help instruct team
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.Read Less
YVC players Connor Coballes and Josh Davis will stay in the Yakima Valley for the summer
YAKIMA, Wash. – A pair of Yakima Valley College players will roam the infield for the Pippins in 2020, as Pippins manager Kyle Krustangel announced the signing of middle infielder Connor Coballes and catcher Josh Davis.
Krustangel, who also manages the Yaks during the collegiate season and will manage the Pippins for the first time this year following three years at the helm of West Coast League foe Wenatchee AppleSox, stressed the importance of building a strong team culture.
“I’m excited for Connor and Josh to be a part of this summer and help with the identity and just that culture that we kind of bring into summer ball,” Krustangel said. “We want to play hard and play the right way, and these are two prime examples of guys that are going to leave 110% every single night at the park.”
Coballes is entering his second year at YVC as a middle infielder and occasional pitcher. Last year, he led the team in walks while tying for the fewest strikeouts among batters with at least 50 at-bats. The 5-foot-11 Gonzaga Prep grad slashed .268/.380/.318 with five doubles, a pair of triples and 13 stolen bases to help the Yaks qualify for the NWAC tournament. Coballes also played in seven games and pitched in two games for the Walla Walla Sweets last summer.
“Connor can really play all over the yard. He’s just a pure athlete, but can really defend with a really good arm,” Krustangel said. He also praised Coballes’ elite defensive ability and ability to toe the rubber in a variety of situations. “He’s kind of that scrappy kind of guy on the mound who knows how to pitch and get outs.”
Davis, a 6-foot catcher from Bothell, is set to begin his first season with the Yaks this spring. Last year, he hit .355 with 14 RBI and a pair of home runs for Bothell High School. Defensively, he posted had a .991 fielding percentage, committing just one error in 109 chances.
“I love what I’ve seen out of the kid. He’s a hockey guy by trade, so he’s tough as nails behind the dish. He’ll be used in different roles at YVC, but his bat plays,” Krustangel said. “I expect him to be not just a good player this spring, but also this summer.”
The Yaks open their 2020 season with a double-header Saturday, Feb. 22, in Albany, Ore., against Linn-Benton CC. YVC opens its home season the following Saturday with a noon double-header against Umpqua College at Parker Faller Field.
The Pippins host three-time defending West Coast League champion Corvallis in a three-game series to open the 2020 campaign at Yakima County Stadium. Season tickets, mini plans and single-game tickets for all 30 home games are currently on sale at PippinsTickets.com, or by calling 509-575-4487.Read Less
Ellensburg’s Xander Orejudos, Selah’s Cort Dietrich, Riverside Christian’s Reagan Haas join roster
YAKIMA, Wash. — A trio of recognizable baseball standouts from the Yakima Valley are the first players added to the Pippins’ 2020 roster.
Orejudos, a 5-foot-9, 180-pounder who will attend Lewis-Clark State next fall, hit .358 (39 for 109) with six doubles, two triples, one home run and 19 RBI for Columbia Basin College in 2019. In 2018, he batted .356 (62 for 174) with 13 doubles, three triples, three home runs and 55 RBI for the Hawks.
“Xander is as tough as they come, and a guy to build an identity around,” Pippins coach Kyle Krustangel said. “He plays the game hard and competes as well as any infielder I have seen. He is versatile and will be seen playing a number of positions this summer.”
Dietrich, a 6-foot-5, 215-pound right-hander, pitched 20.1 innings for Spokane Falls Community College in 2019, allowing 18 earned runs while striking out 29 and walking 15. He was 0-2 for the Sasquatch before transferring to Montana State-Billings this fall.
“Cort has a plus fastball and a hard-nosed persona on the mound,” Krustangel said. “Cort will fit right in on the mound and be a contributor throughout the summer.”
Both Orejudos and Dietrich are no strangers to success at Yakima County Stadium. Orejudos starred at Ellensburg when the Bulldogs won the Class 2A state championship at The Orchard in 2017. Dietrich was on Selah’s 2A state title team in 2016.
Haas, a freshman at Gonzaga, ranked 21st on Baseball Northwest’s list of top 2019 high school prospects. The 5-foot-11, 175-pound right-hander from Wapato had a stellar prep career at Riverside Christian, including setting the Valley record for strikeouts in 2018 with 20 in a seven-inning game in which he faced just 22 batters.
“I am excited for the big personality righthander out of Gonzaga,” Krustangel said of Haas. “He is a strike-thrower with put-away off-speed pitches. Reagan should be able to log a lot of innings next summer. His positive attitude and high energy will be felt in the clubhouse and on the field.”
Haas also was named to the 2018 Baseball Northwest All-Tournament team and pitched in the opening night game of the 2019 Stan Musial Tournament.
“These three are not on the team because they are local, they are on the team this summer because of their talent and how they play the game,” Krustangel said. “The identity this summer will be a group of players that play hard, play the game the right way, and compete every single night for a win to set us up for a WCL championship. These three fit right into the culture, with the added bonus that the fans will recognize them from their high school days. I am excited to keep these guys in Yakima for a great summer.”
The Pippins open the 2020 campaign at home on Friday, June 5, against four-time defending WCL champion Corvallis. Discounted season tickets, mini plans, opening night tickets and other ticket options are available now at the team offices at 12 S. Second St. in the Larson Building in downtown Yakima, by calling 509-575-4487, or at PippinsTickets.com.Read Less
YAKIMA, Wash. — The Yakima Valley Pippins will host five baseball skills camps at The Orchard next summer, a large expansion from past years, and registration fees are being reduced.
Previously, the team hosted one three-day camp in early July. In 2020, the team will hold two three-day all-skills camps — the first slated for July 7-9, and the second scheduled for Aug. 4-6. Cost is $99 per camper, down from $119 the past two years.
New in 2020 is a two-day hitting camp scheduled for June 23-24, and two, one-day all-skills camps set for June 29 and July 18.
The two-day camp costs $79 per camper, and the one-day camps cost $49 per camper.
Early-bird pricing discounts are in effect for registrations before Dec. 31: savings of $10 per camper for the two-day and three-day camps and $5 savings on registration for the one-day camp. Participants who register for three or more camps also receive a 15 percent discount.
Camps are open to boys and girls, ages 7-18. The June 29 one-day camp is specially targeted for high schools players, ages 14-18.
Led by camp director Kyle Krustangel, Pippins coaches and players will provide instruction. No previous baseball experience is necessary; camps are open to participants of all skill levels.
Each camp will run from 9 a.m. to noon.
Register for camps online at PippinsBaseballCamps.com.Read Less
Yakima Valley starts seventh season at home against Corvallis Knights on June 5
YAKIMA, Wash. — Four-time defending West Coast League champion Corvallis will travel to The Orchard to face the Yakima Valley Pippins in a three-game series that will open the 2020 season next June.
The Pippins’ 30-game home schedule begins on Friday, June 5, at Yakima County Stadium. First pitch on Opening Day is slated for 7:05 p.m.
As in previous years, the Pippins will have 27 WCL home games. Besides Corvallis, the Pippins will host Ridgefield, Cowlitz and Walla Walla from the South Division, and will have home-and-home series against all five North Division foes – Bellingham, Kelowna, Port Angeles, Victoria and Wenatchee.
The team will round out its home schedule with three nonleague opponents. Overall, the Pippins will play 57 regular-season games in 2020.
The 12-team wood-bat league’s regular season concludes Sunday, Aug. 9, with playoffs to follow. The Pippins’ final regular-season home game will be Thursday, Aug. 6.
Pippins home games will begin at 6:35 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays, except for special events such as fireworks nights. Sunday games will begin at 6:05 p.m. The Pippins promotional schedule will be announced early in 2020.
Season tickets, five-game mini plans and full-season Family Passes, and ticket vouchers are now available for purchase at Hunky Shaw’s Team Shop, 12 S. Second St., in the historic Larson Building in downtown Yakima, by calling 509-575-4487, or at PippinsTickets.com.
Tickets for Opening Night will go on sale on Friday, Nov. 29.
The Pippins’ 2020 schedule:
June 5-7: Corvallis; June 8: Highline; June 9-11: at Bellingham; June 12-14: Victoria; June 16-18: at Port Angeles; June 19-21: at Bend; June 23-25: Kelowna; June 26-28: Wenatchee; June 30-July 2: at Victoria.
July 3-5: Walla Walla; July 7-9: Ridgefield; July 10-12: at Kelowna; July 14-16: Bellingham; July 17: CCL Showcase; July 18: TBA; July 21-23: at Corvallis; July 24-26: Cowlitz; July 28-30: at Walla Walla; July 31-Aug. 2: at Portland.
Aug. 4-6: Port Angeles; Aug. 7-9: at Wenatchee.Read Less
Current YVC coach has previous playing, coaching experience in West Coast League
YAKIMA, Wash. — Kyle Krustangel, current head coach at Yakima Valley College who also has West Coast League coaching and playing experience, is the new manager of the Yakima Valley Pippins.
Krustangel coached the past three summers for the Wenatchee AppleSox, but resigned his position in early September because of the grueling travel involved between his YVC and Wenatchee commitments. The AppleSox, foes of the Pippins in the WCL’s North Division, qualified for the WCL playoffs this year for the first time since 2013 under his leadership.
“I’m absolutely thrilled and grateful to the Pippins for bringing me on staff,” said Krustangel, who just bought his first house in Selah along with his wife, Katie. “I’m excited to get to know the Yakima community on a deeper level. I know we have our Yaks fans and our sports fans in Yakima. I was at the fair the other day and saw seven or eight Pippins sweatshirts, and I’m excited to have those faces become names next summer.”
Krustangel is entering his fifth season as YVC coach. In his first season in 2016, the Yaks won the college’s 21st NWAC baseball championship. He also was named NWAC East coach of the year, NWAC coach of the year and ABCA Regional coach of the year. During his first four years, in which his teams have won 141 games, the Yaks have won no fewer than 30 games each season.
Krustangel played in the WCL in 2007 for the Spokane RiverHawks, and played and was an assistant coach at Whitworth University, from which he graduated. He also was head varsity baseball coach at Bridgeport High School from 2011-2014, was head coach of the Spokane Bandits AAA American Legion team from 2012-2015, and was head coach of the Yakima Pepsi Beetles in 2016.
“We’re excited to have Kyle join the Pippins and help continue to build strong, exciting baseball programs in Yakima,” general manager Jeff Garretson said. “His energy is infectious, and I believe that will rub off not only on our players, but our fans as well.”
Krustangel succeeds Marcus McKimmy, who coached the Pippins during the franchise’s first six seasons. During McKimmy’s tenure, the Pippins became the first WCL expansion team to advance to the playoffs, and the Pippins also were the most successful expansion franchise in the WCL in its first two seasons. Krustangel also succeeded McKimmy as head coach at YVC in 2016.
“Marcus played a huge role in getting the Pippins off to a successful start,” Garretson said. “The formative years of any organization are crucial, and the work that Marcus did not just in player development, but in the community and with coaches and programs around the country, was critical to the successes we’ve had.”
Garretson said Krustangel’s coaching at YVC — and McKimmy’s coaching of the Yaks during his tenure — is advantageous for the Pippins.
“I view the Pippins as just one of a number of community assets that we have in Yakima,” said Garretson, whose family has deep baseball roots in the Yakima Valley extending back to the late 1930s. “YVC is another of those assets, and it has a rich history of success in baseball. As the Pippins continue to grow and evolve, we want to continue to build our own history of success as well.”
Krustangel agreed, noting that his approach to coaching the Yaks and the Pippins is essentially the same.
“In terms of how I organize the community college here in Yakima with the type of talent we’re bringing in and the type of players, it’s the same equation in the summertime. It shouldn’t be a complete 180,” Krustangel said. “Just because it’s some new faces during the summer, the expectations are the same. I want both groups to truly leave not just as better players, but as better people, better students, better family members.
“There’s a lot more that you can use this game to teach than just a right arm or a big bat. It’s important to me that all the guys I get to coach, we should be positively impacting their lives. That’s something that has been with me since I started coaching.”
Krustangel said Pippins fans will appreciate the energy around the team.
“You’re going to see a team that plays the game hard,” he said. “You’re going to see guys getting on the field, getting off the field hard, playing the game how the game is supposed to be played. But, we’re going to be loose and have fun. Our guys are going to have good energy, and play the game the right way.
“At the same time, I want our guys to be interacting with fans before and after, playing catch with the kids. I really value bringing the youth of the community into the game and also letting our guys let their personalities show,” Krustangel said. “Sometimes guys get forced in college to play a certain way and be someone they’re not. I want each person, each player to let their personality come out and be himself.”
The Pippins open their seventh WCL season in June at Yakima County Stadium. Season tickets, mini plans and ticket vouchers are now on sale at the Pippins team store at 12 S. Second St., by calling 509-575-HITS, or at PippinsTickets.com.Read Less
RHP Magrisi is Pippins’ lone first-team selection; LHP Gonzales receives honorable mention
Magrisi, a 6-foot-2, 210-pound right-hander from Cal State Fullerton, was the Pippins’ leading pitcher, with a 2.60 ERA in 34.2 innings pitched across eight games this summer. Magrisi struck out 66 batters and walked only 12 en route to a 2-1 record.
Magrisi struck out 10 or more batters in four appearances, including 13 in his final outing in Victoria on July 20. Ironically, that 6-inning start was his least-effective appearance of the year: He surrendered 10 hits and eight earned runs in the 9-1 loss. In his seven other official appearances, he allowed no more than four hits.
Magrisi, who along with Gonzales were the Pippins’ only two All-Stars this year, was shut down after the July 20 outing because he reached his inning limit for the summer.
Gonzales, a 6-foot-3, 225-pound left-hander from Dixie State who was a second-year pitcher for the Pippins, earned honorable mention WCL honors. He finished 2-2, striking out 45 and walking 19 in 57.2 innings. He allowed 22 earned runs for a 3.43 ERA in 17 games, which included five starts and one complete game.
Since the team’s inception in 2014, 13 Pippins players have earned All-WCL first team honors.
The Pippins’ seventh West Coast League season will begin in June 2020.
The complete All-WCL teams:
All-WCL First Team
C – Frankie Niemann (Tulane, junior), Victoria HarbourCats
1B – Matthew Christian (Campbell, senior), Port Angeles
2B – Jake Harvey (Oregon State, soph), Corvallis Knights
3B – Andy Atwood (Texas Rio Grande Valley, senior), Corvallis Knights
SS – Brooks Lee (Cal Poly, frosh), Corvallis Knights
OF – Patrick Caulfield (UCLA, junior), Walla Walla Sweets
OF – Briley Knight (Utah, soph), Corvallis Knights
OF – Jake Holcroft (Portland, frosh), Corvallis Knights
UTL – Michael Curialle (UCLA, frosh), Corvallis Knights
SP – Tevita Gerber (Dixie State, senior), Corvallis Knights
SP – Nick Proctor (Cal, soph), Bellingham Bells
SP – Joe Magrisi (Cal State Fullerton, soph), Yakima Valley Pippins
SP – Brad McVay (Portland, soph), Portland Pickles
SP – Jake Saum (UCLA, frosh), Wenatchee AppleSox
RP – Rance Pittman (Southeast Missouri State, junior), Cowlitz Black Bears
RP – William Kempner (Gonzaga, frosh), Corvallis Knights
All-WCL Second Team
C – Hunter Montgomery (Portland, junior), Wenatchee AppleSox
1B – Michael Hicks (Boise State, senior), Ridgefield Raptors
2B – Tyler Grissom (Chico State, senior, Kelowna Falcons
3B – Zach Needham (Lewis-Clark State College, senior), Bend Elks
SS – Kody Darcy (Xavier, soph), Wenatchee AppleSox
OF – Nick Plaia (Cal Baptist, senior), Victoria HarbourCats
OF – Ryan Altenberger (Xavier, junior), Wenatchee AppleSox
OF – John Jensen (UC Irvine, senior), Portland Pickles
UTL – Harrison Spohn (Cal Baptist, junior), Victoria HarbourCats
SP – Jackson Arnsdorf (Corban, junior), Corvallis Knights
SP – Travis Craven (Whitman, senior, Walla Walla Sweets
SP – David Watson (Utah, soph), Corvallis Knights
SP – Jack Hyde (San Deigo, frosh), Victoria HarbourCats
SP – Calvin Turchin (Hawaii, junior), Victoria HarbourCats
RP – Coen Wynne (Grand Canyon, junior), Bend Elks
RP – Jimmy Chatfield (Yale, soph), Bellingham Bells
All-WCL Honorable Mention
Bellingham: Justin Armbruester (Bellingham), Collin Burns (Tulane), Austin Kretzschmar (Stanford), Jack Machtolf (Gonzaga), Guthrie Morrison (Gonzaga), Troy Viola (San Jose State)
Bend: Ryan Kaser (Lewis-Clark State)
Corvallis: Brodie Cooper-Vassalakis (Grand Canyon), Connor Knutson (Portland), Tim Josten (Cal State Fullerton)
Cowlitz: Austin Bell (Dallas Baptist), Sam Ireland (UC Irvine), Alex Salazar (Campbellsville)
Kelowna: Matt Voelzke (George Fox)
Port Angeles: Dwayne Angebrandt (Cal State Northridge), Damiano Palmegiani (Cal State Northridge)
Portland: Kyle Manzardo (Washington State), Michael Perzan (Grand Canyon)
Ridgefield: Peter Allegro (Portland), Carter Benbrook (UC Santa Barbara), Joey Martin (Kansas State), Steve Ramirez (Riverside CC), Cameron Repetti (Cal State Fullerton)
Victoria: Parker Bramlett (Angelo State), Austin Celestino (Incarnate Word), Tanner Haney (Texas), Tyson Hays (Illinois State), Chase Meidroth (San Diego), Griffin Paxton (Texas-San Antonio)
Walla Walla: Brock Ephan (Lewis-Clark State), Brayde Hirai (Central Washington), Cesar Lopez (Cal Poly Pomona), Reid Sebby (Oregon State)
Wenatchee: Blake Klassen (Arizona), Kodie Kolden (Washington State), Seth Kuykendall (Western Oregon), Cole McKenzie (Purdue), Johnny Sage (Purdue)
Yakima Valley: Jack Gonzales (Dixie State)
2019 WCL MVP
Briley Knight (Utah) of Corvallis
2019 WCL Pitcher of the Year
Tevita Gerber (Dixie State) of Corvallis
2019 WCL Top Prospect
Brooks Lee (Cal Poly) of CorvallisRead Less
YAKIMA, Wash. – Two pitchers for the Yakima Valley Pippins, right-hander Joe Magrisi and left-hander Jack Gonzales, have been named to the North Division roster for the 2019 West Coast League All-Star Game, the league office announced Tuesday. The All-Star Game will take place on Tuesday, June 23, at Vince Genna Stadium in Bend, Oregon.
It is the first WCL All-Star Game selection for both pitchers. Gonzales, in his second year with the Pippins, has posted a 2-0 record and 1.80 ERA over 30 innings of work. The Oceanside, California native ranks fourth in the West Coast League in ERA, while his 30 innings pitched are 6th-most league-wide.
Gonzales, a rising junior at Dixie State, has struck out 25 batters and walked 10 in 12 appearances, while opponents have hit just .226 off of him. Gonzales made his first start of the summer on Sunday against Port Angeles, throwing a 7-inning complete game and earning the win after allowing 2 runs and striking out a season-high five.
Magrisi, a two-time WCL Pitcher of the Week honoree, leads the league in ERA (0.62) and strikeouts (53) this season. A native of San Diego, California, the right-hander is the only pitcher in the West Coast League with 3 different double-digit strikeout games this season. In his last start, Magrisi earned the win after striking out 11 over 7 shutout innings against Port Angeles.
A rising sophomore at Cal State Fullerton, Magrisi has walked just 9 batters in his 28.2 innings of work this summer, while opponents have hit .115 off of him. Amongst qualified pitchers, that .115 mark ranks as the 2nd-best league-wide, and his 16.6 strikeouts per nine innings leads all qualified arms.
The Pippins’ two All-Stars marks the sixth consecutive season with at least two selections, in the team’s sixth year of existence. It is the first time since 2015 that the Pippins have sent two pitchers to the All-Star Game.Read Less
YAKIMA, Wash. – For the second time in the first 3 weeks of the 2019 season, Pippins right-hander pitcher Joe Magrisi has been named the West Coast League Moss Adams Pitcher of the Week, as announced by commissioner Rob Neyer. After winning the award in the season’s first week, Magrisi was honored today for his accomplishments in the week of June 17-23.
Magrisi, who leads the WCL in strikeouts with 27, tossed 6 innings of no-hit baseball against Kelowna on June 18, striking out 11 and allowing just one baserunners, a walk. He took a no-decision in the Pippins loss.
He becomes the first two-time WCL Moss Adams Pitcher of the Week recipient for the Pippins in 2019. The San Diego native, who will be a sophomore at Cal State Fullerton in the fall, ranks second in the WCL with a 1.12 ERA through 16 innings pitched.Read Less
YAKIMA, Wash. – Yakima Valley Pippins right-handed pitcher Joe Magrisi has been named the West Coast League Pitcher of the Week for the Week of June 4-9, WCL Commissioner Rob Neyer and the league office announced Monday. Magrisi is the first Pippins pitcher honored with the award since Hunter French was the weekly selection on June 11, 2018.
The 6-foot-2, 210-pound native of San Diego, California, appeared in two games for the Pippins this past week as the team posted a 5-1 record. He earned the save on Opening Day against the Ridgefield Raptors on the road, striking out the side in the bottom of the ninth inning on 10 pitches. On Friday, Magrisi started the Pippins’ home opener against the Wenatchee AppleSox and earned his first victory of the season, allowing 1 hit over five shutout innings, striking out 7 and not walking a batter.
A rising sophomore at Cal State Fullerton in the fall, Magrisi sits tied for second in the WCL with his 10 strikeouts, and is tied for the league lead with a perfect 0.00 ERA.Read Less
YAKIMA, Wash. – Montana State Billings’ Daniel Cipriano, the 2019 Great Northwest Athletic Conference Player of the Year, highlights the newest group of position players added to the 2019 Yakima Valley Pippins roster, head coach Marcus McKimmy announced Tuesday.
A transfer from Moorpark College in California, Cipriano made an immediate impact for the Yellowjackets in his first year on campus, capturing the GNAC Triple Crown after leading the league in batting average (.405), home runs (18), and RBIs (52). He also set a school record by reaching base in 41 consecutive games between February and May.
The 6-foot-3, 245-pound right-handed hitting Cipriano is a native of Agoura Hills, California, northwest of Los Angeles. An infielder, he was also named the GNAC Newcomer of the Year, and was a unanimous 1st team All-GNAC selection.
Joining Cipriano on the Pippins’ roster of position players this summer is catcher Spencer Bramwell, and infielders Owen Cobb and Connor Gurnik.
Bramwell, a 5-foot-11, 210-pound right-handed hitter, joins James Bell and Korrey Siracusa as catchers for the Pippins this summer. After playing sparingly as a freshman, he has had a breakout sophomore season as the Maverick’s everyday catcher. Entering play of Colorado Mesa’s NCAA D2 Super Regional against Angelo State this upcoming weekend, Bramwell, a native of San Clemente, California, leads the team with a .383 batting average to go with 11 doubles, 7 homers, and 44 RBIs.
Cobb, a 6-foot-2, 180-pound right-handed hitter, will join the Pippins this summer before he begins his freshman year at Stanford this fall, where he will be teammates with fellow 2019 Pippin Henry Gargus. Cobb attends Garfield High School in Seattle, where he was named a second-team All-USA Washington as a junior in 2018.
Gurnik, a 5-foot-11, 185-pound right-handed hitter, will play his second season in the West Coast League this summer, and his first with the Pippins. A redshirt freshman at Cal Poly, the Naperville, Illinois native has seen consistent playing time on the infield after taking a redshirt year in 2018. Gurnik played for the Kelowna Falcons during the summer of 2017, appearing in 21 games.
Saint Louis’ Scott Youngbrandt and future UCLA Bruin Josh Hahn join the roster
YAKIMA, Wash. – Two two-way players, Saint Louis University’s Scott Youngbrandt and UCLA signee Josh Hahn, are the newest additions to the Yakima Valley Pippins roster, head coach Marcus McKimmy announced Wednesday.
Hahn, a 6-foot-2, 195-pound left-handed pitcher and hitter, will attend UCLA next fall following the conclusion of his high school career at Huntington Beach (Calif.) High School. Playing for one of the top high school teams in southern California, Hahn was a second-team All-State selection as a two-way player his junior season. As a sophomore, in his first year on varsity, he was named the Sunset League Rookie of the Year.
Youngbrandt, a 6-foot, 185-pound freshman from Tinley Park, Illinois, has spent most of his freshman season for the Billikens as a hitter. Youngbrandt has played three different positions for Saint Louis this year, and has recently moved into the leadoff spot in the batting order.
“I have a teammate (at Saint Louis) who played in Victoria, and told me about the West Coast League,” Youngbrandt said. “He said one thing that will be a lot different will be the atmosphere, averaging 1,000 to 1,500 people a night.”
Youngbrandt attended Victor J. Andrew High School in the Chicago area, where he was twice named All-Conference. He was selected Conference Pitcher of the Year as a junior, as well as All-State. D1Baseball.com ranked him the fourth-best freshman in the Atlantic 10 Conference entering the season.
“Coming in as a freshman, you learn a ton of stuff from older players and coaches that you work on implementing into your game,” Youngbrandt noted. “I’ll be trying to implement those things I’ve learned, on both sides of the ball.”Read Less
YAKIMA, Wash. — The Pippins will start their sixth summer of baseball at Yakima County Stadium a couple days earlier than anticipated with the addition of an exhibition game on Sunday, June 2.
Billed as “Sunday Funday with the Pippins,” the game against the Seattle Studs serves more than one purpose for the organization, general manager Jeff Garretson said.
“The event servers as a good training situation for all stadium employees who will be serving fans during the summer, and gives them a chance to work together and learn our systems before Opening Night,” Garretson said. “With many new employees every summer, it’s a real benefit.
“And, obviously, the coaching staff can see our new players in a game situation instead of just practices before we start the regular season at Ridgefield,” Garretson added.
The Sunday game will start at 6:05 p.m., with gates opening at 5:15 p.m.
The event will include discount prices throughout the venue, including $1 parking, $3 admission for all seating levels, $2 hot dogs and regular sodas, $3 hamburgers and French fries, and $3.50 cheeseburgers.
“It’s the first Sunday in June, and we thought it’d be a great day for a family night at the ballpark that lets fans mingle with players in a more laid-back atmosphere,” Garretson said.
The Pippins’ official home opener, presented by Legends Casino and Hotel, is slated for Friday, June 7, against the Wenatchee AppleSox. Gates open at 6 p.m., with first pitch scheduled at 7:05 p.m. The first 1,000 fans will receive a Legends Casino water bottle that will be refillable all season long with $2 fountain drinks. Postgame fireworks will cap the evening.
Tickets for this game and all regular-season home games are available at PippinsTickets.com, by calling 509-575-4487, or in person at the team’s downtown store at 12 S. Second St. in the Larson Building.Read Less
Idaho native Christian Padilla and Kansas City’s Tyler Pittman join 2019 squad
YAKIMA, Wash. – Future Boise State Bronco Christian Padilla and current Pittsburg State Gorilla Tyler Pittman are the newest additions to the 2019 Yakima Valley Pippins outfield, head coach Marcus McKimmy announced Wednesday.
Padilla, a 5-foot-11, 170-pound right-handed hitter, is currently a sophomore at Spokane Falls (Wash.) Community College. He has signed a letter of intent to attend Boise State University starting this fall, where he will be a member of the Broncos’ upstart baseball program, which will take the field in 2020 for the first time since it was disbanded in 1980.
“I’ve heard good things about the Pippins, about Coach McKimmy,” Padilla said. “I know it’s a good league, with lots of good talent. I’m looking forward to seeing better competition and to learn a couple things.”
As a freshman at Spokane Falls last season, Padilla was named 2nd team All-NWAC East Region after hitting .278 with 8 home runs and 31 RBIs and stealing 20 bases. The native of Eagle, Idaho played summer collegiate baseball for the Expedition League’s Badlands Big Sticks last summer, hitting .264 with 5 home runs for the league’s runners-up.
Pittman, a 5-foot-8, 175-pound junior from Lee’s Summit, Missouri, is in his first season at Division II Pittsburg State University in Kansas. He has been a fixture in the lineup this season for the Gorillas, appearing in 23 of 33 games.
The right-handed hitting Pittman transferred to Pittsburg State after two seasons in the junior college ranks in Kansas City. He hit .332 with 6 home runs as a sophomore at Kansas City Kansas Community College, following up an All-Conference freshman year in which he hit .386 with 11 doubles, 7 triples, 3 home runs, and 36 RBIs.Read Less
Dixie State’s Jack Gonzales returns, Portland’s Cole Wilkinson new to staff
YAKIMA, Wash. – A pair of left-handed pitchers, Dixie State’s Jack Gonzales and Portland’s Cole Wilkinson, are the newest members of the 2019 Yakima Valley Pippins. The duo are the first two southpaws added to the roster this year.
A returner from last year’s squad, Gonzales had a strong summer in 2018 in which he posted a 3.04 ERA in 47.1 innings, largely out of the Pippins’ bullpen. Gonzales struck out 39 batters, while opponents hit just .268. He made the final start of the regular season in Corvallis, holding the eventual league champions to just two runs in seven innings.
Gonzales, a 6-foot-3, 225-pound native of San Diego, is working as a starting pitcher in his sophomore season at Dixie State University, in the Trailblazers’ penultimate season in Division II, before they move up to Division I for the 2021 season. His 3.52 ERA for Dixie State as a freshman in 2018 led the team.
Wilkinson, a 6-foot-1, 185-pound freshman from Eugene, Oregon, is currently in his freshman season at Portland. A graduate of Eugene’s Churchill High School, he was named the Oregon Class 5A Pitcher of the Year as a senior in 2018. Additionally, Wilkinson was tabbed first team All-State.
Wilkinson has worked almost exclusively out of the bullpen so far this spring for the Pilots. In eight appearances (with one start), he has pitched 11.2 innings and has struck out 11 batters.Read Less
YAKIMA, Wash. –One of the most decorated high school baseball players in the country, Seattle native Corbin Carroll has signed to play for the Yakima Valley Pippins this summer before beginning his freshman season at UCLA in the fall, the team announced Thursday.
Carroll, a 5-foot-10, 160-pound outfielder, has put together a high-level résumé for a high school baseball player. Last summer, he was named MVP of the Perfect Game All-American Classic at Petco Park in San Diego after going 1-for-1 with a triple and two walks.
Baseball America ranks Carroll the seventh-best available prospect for the 2019 MLB Draft, while MLB Pipeline tabs him as the 14th-best — two of a handful of signals that Carroll could be a high draft pick in MLB’s June amateur draft.
Recently, Carroll was named to Perfect Game’s Northwest Region High School Dream Team for the 2019 season, where he was listed with friend and fellow future Pippin Henry Gargus of Yakima’s Davis High School.
“A big reason why I chose the Pippins was to play (with Gargus),” said Carroll, who is a senior at Lakeside High School. “Really looking forward to the summer … I’m really looking to get better, get at-bats, be fresh and be ready to compete for a spot in that UCLA lineup.”
A fast and athletic left-handed hitter, Carroll has also played at the U18 level for Team USA. At the Pan-American Championships in Panama last November, he starred as Team USA won its fifth straight gold medal, hitting .500 with three home runs in eight games. He also led all players in the tournament with nine stolen bases, and homered in the gold medal game.
“I can’t say enough about that USA experience,” Carroll said. “It’s something I’d wanted to do since I was 13, 14 years old. Not making teams in the past really motivated me, so finally making the team this year felt like a great accomplishment for me, because it really showed my hard work paying off.”Read Less
Reed Garrett, Yakima Valley’s first winning pitcher, makes Detroit’s 25-man roster
YAKIMA, Wash. – Reed Garrett is still making history for the Yakima Valley Pippins.
Garrett, a Virginia Military Institute right-hander in 2014,threw the first pitch in Pippins history — a strike — on June 6, 2014. He pitched seven innings that night and picked up the win in the franchise-opening victory against the Wenatchee AppleSox in front of 3,209 fans at Yakima County Stadium.
Five years later, Garrett is the first Pippin to reach the major leagues, with the Detroit Tigers as a Rule 5 draft selection. He secured a spot in the Tigers bullpen when manager Ron Gardenhire finalized Detroit’s 25-man active roster Monday.
“From a baseball standpoint, Reed’s stuff passes the eye test,” Pippins manager Marcus McKimmy said. “He was our best guy (to start the Pippins’ first-ever game), and he would have been our best guy had he stayed with us all summer.
“But the thing that sticks with me was that he was a genuinely incredible human. He came from a great school, he was a mature adult with a great head on his shoulders, intelligent, a leader by example,” McKimmy continued. “So, for us and the fans who got to see him pitch that first start, they got a glimpse of a really, really quality baseball player and an incredible young man.”
Garrett made two starts in a Pippins uniform and picked up two wins. After earning the victory on opening night in Yakima, he pitched five days later in Corvallis against the Knights, again tossing seven innings and earning the win while striking out six and allowing just two earned runs.
Garrett was drafted in the 16thround by the Texas Rangers in 2014, just one day after his Opening Night start, and spent the first five seasons of his professional career in that organization. He agreed to terms with the Rangers after his second Pippins start, and began his pro career a week later at short-season Spokane in the Northwest League.
In December, he was the fifth overall pick by Detroit in the 2018 Rule 5 Draft.
Under the guidelines of the Rule 5 Draft, Garrett must remain on the 25-man Major League roster for the entire 2019 season, and must remain active (not on the injured list) for at least 90 days. If he does not remain on the Major League roster, he must be offered back to the Rangers organization for $50,000, half of what the Tigers paid to acquire his rights. After a strong spring training, Garrett worked his way into the Tigers’ bullpen plans for 2019, and potentially beyond.
“For a middle-round draft pick, the odds are a little more stacked against you, but for a guy with Reed’s makeup, his character and his personality and his stuff, ultimately, you knew that he had a chance,” McKimmy said. “And for minor league baseball, that’s all any of these guys really want and ask for. For Reed, he’s a great example of a guy who wasn’t highly invested in, but he bet on himself and had the make-up and character and ability to get there, to go through the trials and grind of minor league baseball.”
A starter for the Pippins and in college at VMI, Garrett primarily remained a starter for the first three years of his pro career. After a full-time move to the bullpen in 2017 at Double-A Frisco, Texas, everything took off – both literally and figuratively.
Garrett’s strikeout rate, which hovered between six and seven strikeouts per nine innings as a starter, jumped to over a batter per inning the past two seasons. His previously low-90s fastball now sits in the mid-90s and has touched 99, to go with a power breaking ball, a newly implemented split-finger fastball, and a change-up. He split 2018 between Frisco and Triple-A Round Rock, Texas, and posted a combined 2.04 ERA while striking out 61 batters in 61.2 innings.
Garrett figures to be a key piece out of the bullpen for a Tigers pitching staff that includes WCL alums Matthew Boyd (Corvallis) and Blaine Hardy (Bend/Wenatchee). In spring training for Detroit, he posted an ERA of 6.10 in ten appearances, striking out 11 batters in 10.1 innings of work.
The Tigers open their 2019 regular season Thursday in Toronto against the Blue Jays. Detroit visits the Seattle Mariners July 25-28.Read Less
YAKIMA, Wash. – Three freshmen from perennial Division I power Cal State Fullerton – infielder Zach Lew, right-handed pitcher Joe Magrisi, and catcher Korrey Siracusa – are the newest additions to the 2019 Yakima Valley Pippins, head coach Marcus McKimmy announced Tuesday.
The trio comes to Yakima County Stadium from a program that has made 27 straight NCAA regional appearances, and two of the past four College World Series.
Lew, a 5-foot-9, 165-pound, right-handed-hitting infielder, is in his first year at Fullerton after prepping at southern California baseball powerhouse Orange (Calif.) Lutheran High School. Playing in one of the best high school baseball conferences in the country, Lew was a second-team All-League selection as a senior in 2018.
“Lew can play all three infield positions (3B, 2B, and SS) really well,” McKimmy said. “He is already finding his way into the lineup as a true freshman. When people ask me about Zach, I just tell them he’s as tough as they come and helps his team win.”
Magrisi, a 6-foot-2, 210-pound right-handed pitcher, is also in his first year at Fullerton as a hard-throwing bullpen piece. The San Diego, California, native was ranked the 10th-best freshman in the Big West Conference by Baseball America entering the 2019 season.
“Joe has swing-and-miss stuff,” McKimmy said. “He projects as a rotation guy for us, but can pitch effectively in all roles. Sneaky velocity and a plus slider jump off the page.”
At Torrey Pines High School in San Diego, Magrisi went 12–0 with a 0.75 ERA and 130 strikeouts in 93 innings as a senior, while only walking 12 batters. For his efforts, he was named Prep Baseball Report State Pitcher of the Year, League Pitcher of the Year, and San Diego CIF Player of the Year. Additionally, Magrisi broke 21-year Major League veteran and 3-time All-Star David Wells’ San Diego high school record for consecutive scoreless innings when he pitched 54.2 straight frames unblemished.
“He is throwing out of the bullpen at Fullerton now, so he will be fresh and motivated to impress when he arrives in Yakima in June,” said McKimmy.
Siracusa, a 5-foot-8, 180-pound, right-handed-hitting catcher, is a native of Honolulu, Hawaii, where he attended Mililani High School. Siracusa was a first-team All-State selection as a senior in 2018, as well as an All-League pick. He helped lead Mililani to its first conference title since 1997, when the school won the league in 2018.
“Siracusa is behind an older, more experienced starter in former Pippins All-Star Daniel Cope,” said McKimmy. “He’s more than likely going to redshirt and be one of our best guys behind the plate when he puts on the Pippin green.”Read Less
Davis High’s Henry Gargus, Oregon State’s Greg Fuchs join 2019 squad
YAKIMA, Wash. – Davis High School senior Henry Gargus, and Oregon State freshman Greg Fuchs are joining the Pippins for the 2019 season, head coach Marcus McKimmy announced Monday.
“We start building this roster in the fall,” McKimmy said. “Henry and Greg — we’ve had them committed since the fall. They’re incredible lefty bats, and I’m excited to bring them in here to County Stadium, which has always played well to left-handed power bats.”
Gargus, a 6-foot, 205-pound first baseman and outfielder who is headed to Stanford in the fall, is entering his senior season at A.C. Davis High School this spring. The Yakima native is ranked by Baseball Americaas the 136th-best prospect for the upcoming 2019 MLB Draft.
“Henry is one of the highly touted high school players in the country, not just in the Northwest,” said McKimmy. “The fact that he lives just mere miles from us in Yakima, that’s just a benefit, and an incredible one at that.”
Gargus was named a 2018 Perfect Game All-American and participated in the All-American Classic at Petco Park in San Diego last summer. An all-state selection as a junior at Davis, he also won the home run derby at the 2018 Area Code Games in Long Beach, Calif. On Friday, Gargus was named to Perfect Game’s Northwest Region High School Dream Team for the 2019 season.
“There’s pride on both sides,” McKimmy said of having a high-level Yakima native stay home for the summer and play in front of family and friends. “Even more important, Henry is an outstanding character, an outstanding individual. His makeup is off the charts.”
“Every teacher, mentor, coach, just have rave reviews,” McKimmy continued. “These types of guys don’t come around in a clubhouse all the time.”
Fuchs (pronounced FYOOKS) is a 6-foot, 192-pound outfielder and catcher from Mercer Island, Wash. He is currently playing his freshman season for the reigning NCAA Division I national champion Beavers.
“Greg is versatile,” McKimmy noted. “He was a catcher, first baseman, and outfielder in high school, but will primarily play outfield and DH at Oregon State. We see some value in him potentially starting behind the plate for us at times, just to get another bat in the lineup while also playing the corner outfield as well.
“Anytime that you’ve got a guy that you can put behind the dish in a pinch at the college level and then in the outfield has immense value to your ballclub.”
Fuchs made an immediate impact for the Beavers on Opening Day, hitting a pinch-hit, walk-off, 2-RBI single in his first collegiate at-bat to beat New Mexico in Surprise, Ariz. He was named to the Seattle TimesAll-Area team as a senior at Mercer Island High School after hitting .486 with three home runs and 25 RBIs, and earned league MVP honors.
“Oregon State has done such an incredible job of recruiting young talent, really developing those guys into national title competitors,” McKimmy noted. “Greg had an immediate impact early on as a non-starter, and that shows you the trust they had in their bench, their young guys, their recruits, and the ability to have depth.”Read Less
Ridgefield will host Yakima Valley on June 4; Pippins open at home on June 7
YAKIMA, Wash. – The Yakima Valley Pippins will open their 2019 West Coast League campaign against the newest addition to the league, the Ridgefield Raptors, with a three-game series that begins Tuesday, June 4.
The Pippins, starting their sixth year in the wood-bat collegiate summer league, will open their 32-game home schedule at Yakima County Stadium on Friday, June 7, against the Wenatchee AppleSox. First pitch is at 7:05 p.m.
Ridgefield was announced as the 12th team in the WCL this summer. The Raptors, owned by the same group that owns and operates the Cowlitz Black Bears, will join the WCL South, which will give both divisions six teams each.
The Pippins will have 27 home league games and five nonleague opponents. The nonleague dates and opponents will be announced later.
The Pippins schedule can be viewed here.
The league’s regular season concludes on Sunday, Aug. 11, with playoffs starting two days later. The Pippins will host their sister team, the Walla Walla Sweets, on the final home weekend of the season.
Per league scheduling guidelines, the Pippins will not travel to Walla Walla or Bend this season. Likewise, Yakima Valley will not host Portland or Cowlitz this summer.
Pippins home games will begin at 6:35 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays, except for special event nights such as fireworks nights. Sunday games will begin at 6:05 p.m. The Pippins promotional schedule will be announced early next year.
Season tickets for the 2019 season are available for purchase at Hunky Shaw’s Team Shop, 12 S. Second St., in the historic Larson Building in downtown Yakima, by calling 509-575-4487, or online at PippinsTickets.com. The Pippins’ holiday kiosk in the Valley Mall in Union Gap will open Nov. 17.
Tickets for Opening Night, presented by Legends Casino and Hotel, will go on sale in December, with special pricing available only that month.Read Less
YAKIMA, Wash. — Outfielder Kyle Dean has been crowned the West Coast League batting champion after leading all batters with a .374 average over the 54-game WCL season.
Dean, who joined the Pippins en route to their trip to Kelowna, B.C. on June 22, played in 37 games. He finished with 52 hits in 139 at-bats, including eight doubles, four triples and two home runs. Dean, who attended Brigham Young University this past spring and is transferring to Cal State Monterey Bay this fall, also had 24 RBI, 19 walks and four hit-by-pitches.
Dean’s best plate appearance was a 4-for-5 effort against Corvallis on July 10 in Yakima, in which he doubled and drove in a run. Two days earlier, Dean had an individual-best 3 RBI game at Port Angeles, and drove in multiple runs in six league games.
In nonleague play, Dean had a 4-for-5, 7-RBI game against the Gresham GreyWolves on July 26 that included a grand slam.Read Less
Jake Moberg, Cole Pofek and Chase Farrell will be representing the Pippins in Port Angeles for the 2018 West Coast League All-Star Game on July 17th.
Moberg has been a consistent bat near the top of the lineup for the Pippins this season. He is hitting .339 (1st on the team) with a home run and 11 RBI. In the Pippins last series in Port Angeles, Moberg went 5-12 (.417) with 2 runs scored and 3 RBI. Moberg will be attending UCLA in the fall as a freshman.
Pofek has provided power in the middle of the lineup for the Pippins. He leads the team with 4 home runs and is second on the team with 18 RBI. In his first 4 games of the season, Pofek went 8-16 (.500) with 7 runs scored, 2 home runs and 9 RBI. Pofek will be entering his sophomore year at UC Riverside in the fall.
Farrell has been a dynamic arm that has anchored the top of the Pippins starting rotation. Farrell is 0-1 with a 2.28 ERA in 4 games (3 starts). In his 19.2 innings pitched, Farrell has racked up 29 strikeouts while walking just 2 batters. He turned in his best start of the season on July 6 against Port Angeles where he went 7 innings of one run ball with no walks and 12 strikeouts. The 12 K’s broke a Pippins single game strikeout record held by Eli Morgan who struck out 11 batters on two separate occasions in 2014. Farrell will be in his sophomore year at UCLA in the fall.Read Less
Pippins pitcher Hunter French was awarded the West Coast League’s Moss Adams Pitcher of the Week on Monday. Over the past week, French pitched in two games, one start against the Bend Elks and one relief appearance against the Harbourcats. He threw a combined nine innings allowing just one unearned run on six hits while striking out ten and walking one.
He picked up a win on June 8 in the Pippins 10-2 win over the Elks. French went six innings allowing one unearned run and striking out six.
“He has just continued to get better and better in his two years with us,” said Pippins Manager Marcus McKimmy after French’s start against the Elks. “He’s obviously older and more experienced now but just with his work ethic and mentality, even facing a little difficulty there in the early innings he didn’t flinch and really settled in nicely and gave us a quality start when we needed it.”
French pitched in one game for the Pippins in 2017 throwing 6 innings of two run ball against the Bellingham Bells.
French will be a junior at Central Washington University in the fall. With Columbia Basin College this spring, French went 4-3 with a 4.34 ERA in 76.2 innings pitched.Read Less
PORTLAND — Rob Neyer, a former ESPN and Fox Sports journalist, has been named the West Coast League’s new commissioner as the league revamps its leadership structure heading into the 2018 season.
Neyer is the league’s first commissioner since ABCA Hall of Fame head coach Jim Dietz of San Diego State presided over the West Coast Collegiate Baseball League, during the circuit’s formative years.
“We are thrilled to have Rob Neyer represent the West Coast League and act as our league’s commissioner,” said WCL president Tony Bonacci. “His knowledge of the game and passion for what we are doing, not to mention his contacts in baseball, should help us elevate the league to new heights.”
“We can’t be more pleased that Rob has joined us as our commissioner.”
Neyer lives in Portland.
A baseball writer known for his pioneering use of statistical analysis and sabermetrics, Rob began his career working for Bill James and STATS, Inc. He’s also worked for 15 years as a columnist and blogger for ESPN, and was National Baseball Editor at Vox Media’s SB Nation from 2011 to 2013, then Senior Baseball Editor for Fox Sports through 2015. His recent work has been featured in The New York Times, Vice Sports, Complex Sports, and Yahoo, among others.
This October, HarperCollins will publish POWER BALL: Anatomy of a Modern Baseball Game, Neyer’s seventh book.
“I’m a passionate, longtime fan of baseball history generally, and Pacific Northwest baseball specifically,” Neyer said. “So it’s difficult for me to imagine a more exciting opportunity, and I’m honored to be associated with such a fine organization. This summer, as I connect with the owners and visit all the beautiful ballparks, I’ll do everything I can to help this great league become even greater.”
WCL members will look to the league’s new commissioner to arbitrate and regulate during the season; to further connect the league and its teams with the baseball community, its markets and those that follow the game; and to act as a league ambassador.Read Less
West Coast League initiative aims to bring visual medium to all 11 ballparks
YAKIMA, Wash. – Pippins fans will have a new way to catch Yakima Valley’s 32 home games this summer through a new live-video option available at Yakima County Stadium.
Adding a pay-per-view and season subscription options for all home games in Yakima is part of a larger, West Coast League initiative to have all games live-streamed for fans. Both the Pippins and Walla Walla Sweets started a rudimentary Periscope broadcast for home and away games in 2014. In 2016, the Victoria HarbourCats launched a multi-camera broadcast. Earlier this year, the WCL board of directors approved an initiative to help each ballclub capitalize a video-streaming service in each park. The league anticipates that all clubs will have a live-video solution available for all games.
“We’re excited to be able to extend our reach even further with live video for our local fans, and fans outside the area who can’t come to Yakima,” Pippins general manager Jeff Garretson said. “Broadcaster Kevin Vallene has experience both with radio and video broadcasts, and he’s a great asset to have on board as we launch this new medium.
The single-camera operation this year is expected to become a multi-camera setup for 2019, Garretson said. The video stream will include simulcast audio from the Pippins’ English-radio broadcasts on 1460 ESPN Yakima. Advertising options just for streaming video are available, or can be packaged with other advertising mediums, Garretson said.
Single-game and full-season passes will go on sale in May. Some games, or parts of games, may be available for free on certain platforms, such as Facebook Live. Garretson said those details are still being finalized.
The Pippins will use Boxcast, a comprehensive cloud-based solution that includes a full production suite to allow for a great viewing experience. This platform will also allow the Pippins to grow working relationships with local education facilities, as this new initiative creates paying jobs for developing multimedia and video production students.Read Less
Yaks’ Matt Driver had two stints with team in 2017
YAKIMA, Wash. – Yakima Valley’s Pippins are adding another familiar face to the 2018 roster.
Pitcher Matt Driver, a 6-foot-2 sophomore right-hander, was on the 2017 squad to start and end the season with a pair of 10-day contracts. This year, the Kennewick native has been signed to a full-season contract.
Also joining the Pippins is YVC teammate Easton Henke, a 6-3 sophomore right-hander from Kamiakin High School in Kennewick, and Bellevue College sophomore infielder Grant DeLappe from Tahoma High School in Maple Valley, Wash.
“The NWAC (Northwest Athletic Conference) consistently produces and develops quality players who move on to Division 1, NAIA, and professional baseball year in and year out,” Pippins manager Marcus McKimmy said.
Driver, pitched 8.2 innings in six appearances for the Pippins last summer, finishing 0-2 with a 7.27 ERA. But he’s been impressive for the Yaks so far this spring: He’s 1-0 with a 4.09 ERA in 11 innings. In his past two appearances, Driver has struck out 18 batters in 9 innings, picking up a victory against Centralia CC on March 11, his most recent appearance.
“I’ve seen Matt’s fastball up to 90-91 this year, but what impresses me most is that he’s learning how to take full control of games from the rubber,” McKimmy said. “He is in great shape and mentally ready for the rigors of the WCL schedule.”
Henke has struck out seven and walked five in 8.1 innings so far this season, coming out of the bullpen in two of the three games in which he’s seen action. He’s 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA.
“I’ve had my eye on Easton for some time. He will pitch out of the bullpen for us, and will have a valuable role in the middle to late innings when the game is on the line,” McKimmy said. “Easton is a quality YVC pitcher, with experience, who has earned the opportunity to put on the Pippin green. I am pumped to have him.”
DeLappe, who will attend Washington State University in the fall, is a 6-foot-1, 170-pound middle infielder for the Bulldogs and is hitting .194 in 13 games so far this spring. In 2017, DeLappe batted .300 with 12 doubles, six triples and seven home runs for Bellevue.
“He can really hit and play defense – though he’s gotten off to a slow start at the plate this year,” McKimmy said. “I like the energy he plays the game with, which for a shortstop on our team is essential. He can be a field general and solidify our defense in the middle of the diamond. WSU got a real good player here.”
The Pippins host Walla Walla on June 1 in both teams’ season opener. Tickets for opening night, presented by Legends Hotel and Casino, are currently available for purchase at Hunky Shaw’s Team Shop, 12 S. Second St. in the historic Larson Building in downtown Yakima, by calling 509-575-4487 or at pippinsbaseball.com.Read Less
Pair from UC Irvine, infielder from Cal Poly heading to Yakima
YAKIMA, Wash. – Two freshmen infielders and a freshman right-handed pitcher are the newest additions to the Yakima Valley Pippins roster for 2018.
Nick DiCarlo, a 6-foot-2, 190-pounder at Cal Poly SLO, is currently batting .300 (6 for 20) for the Mustangs in the 11 games he’s played as a true freshman. DiCarlo attended Arcadia High School in Phoenix, where he hit .372 with 12 doubles, two home runs and 19 during his senior season in 2017.
“Nick is a very talented freshman who will be an infielder who stands out immediately when he puts on the Pippin green,” Yakima Valley manager Marcus McKimmy said. “He’s very dynamic in his offensive skill set and will probably play a lot of third base for us, but can play the other two infield spots as well.
“Since he’s already seeing early action this spring for the Mustangs, he will hit the ground running when he gets to Yakima,” McKimmy continued. “Nick’s a winner, and we expect that to infect his teammates and Yakima County Stadium. He played for the Utah Marshalls out of high school, which is on the short list of best summer programs in the western United States.”
McKimmy is also looking forward to the versatility of Brendan Brooks, a 6-foot-1, 165-pound freshman infielder at Cal Irvine.
“We really like the versatility that Brendan will give us offensively and defensively,” he said. “He is just a really good, skilled baseball player. I’m confident that he can play all three infield spots in the summer, but his first college start was in the outfield.”
Brooks, from Corona, Calif., attended Norco High School in Norco, Calif., where he hit .370 with nine doubles and 12 RBI in 28 games his senior year. At Irvine, he’s hitting .297 in nine starts with the Anteaters.
Teammate Jake Lachemann, a 6-foot-7, 205-pound right-hander, also is expected to have an impact with the Pippins.
“Jake will be an important piece of our bullpen,” McKimmy said. “He is an 88- to 90-mph arm from an incredibly valuable angle, given his height.”
Lachemann was 3-1 with three saves in 20 innings pitched for San Juan Hills High School in San Juan Capistrano, Calif., in 2017. He’s also the grandson of former Major League Baseball player and manager Marcel Lachemann.
“One thing I’ve learned is to trust the value of baseball families,” McKimmy said.
The Pippins open their fifth anniversary season on June 1, hosting the Walla Walla Sweets at Yakima County Stadium. Season tickets for the team’s 32-game home schedule are currently available for purchase at Hunky Shaw’s Team Shop, 12 S. Second St. in the historic Larson Building in downtown Yakima, by calling 509-575-4487 or at pippinsbaseball.com.Read Less
Right-handers Chase Farrell, Sean Mullen both hail from California
YAKIMA, Wash. – Chase Farrell, who originally signed with the Pippins prior to the 2017 season, and Sean Mullen, a pair of right-handers attending or headed to UCLA, are the newest additions to Yakima Valley’s pitching staff this summer.
Farrell, a 6-foot-1, 170-pound hurler from Valencia, Calif., was selected by the Houston Astros in the 40th round of th 2017 Major League Baseball draft. As a senior at Valencia High, he finished with an 8-2 record and a 1.43 ERA in 73.2 innings, with 83 strikeouts and one no-hitter.
“His arm really works,” Pippins manager Marcus McKimmy said. “What most of our fans don’t remember is that Chase was signed to be a Pippin in 2017. He had a dominant senior year and didn’t play summer ball because of innings restrictions. He is even better this year, a year older, and could possibly throw some starter innings for UCLA as a true freshman. He will be in the 89-90 mph range with his fastball, and he has a really good changeup, and a slider.”
Mullen, a 6-foot-1, 180-pounder from Bakersfield, Calif., is heading into his senior season at Stockdale High. As a junior, Mullen was 9-1 with a 3.48 ERA in 54.1 innings. He struck out 61 and walked 35. Mullen, who also plays infield, led the Mustangs with a .470 average, 47 hits and seven home runs, and was the second-leading batter with 11 doubles and 29 RBI.
“Up until this year (2017), I thought he was going to be a pitcher only in college,” Stockdale coach Brad Showers told the Bakersfield Californian newspaper last summer. “I didn’t know if he was good enough to be a two-way guy.”
After Mullen’s breakout junior season, Showers said he believes Mullen could be a two-way starter for the Bruins.
McKimmy is looking forward to having Mullen on the Pippins roster.
“I anticipate his role will be condensed to a vital bullpen arm for us, depending on how much he throws this spring, but having his versatility will be crucial for 59 games this summer,” McKimmy said. “Reports have had Mullen up to the 92-94 mph range, which will give him a great advantage in this wood-bat league if he’s a consistent strike-thrower.
“In talking with Sean recently, he’s really pumped to make Yakima Valley his home this summer.”
The Pippins open their fifth anniversary season on June 1, hosting the Walla Walla Sweets at Yakima County Stadium. Season tickets for the team’s 32-game home schedule are currently available for purchase at Hunky Shaw’s Team Shop, 12 S. Second St. in the historic Larson Building in downtown Yakima, by calling 509-575-4487 or online at pippinsbaseball.com. Discounted opening night tickets are also on sale through the end of February.Read Less