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.