YVC Yak, Yakima native are first non-returners announced for this summer
YAKIMA, Wash. – After announcing a suite of players that will return from last year’s campaign earlier in the offseason, Yakima Valley Pippins head coach Kyle Krustangel announced two new players that will join the squad for 2022.
Yakima Valley College’s Hank Dunn will join Yak teammates Dann Blanchard, Josh Davis and Spencer Marenco on the Pippins, and Yakima native Blake Leaverton will play in front of his hometown crowd this summer.
Dunn played in 30 games during his freshman season at YVC in 2021, hitting .281 with seven doubles, four triples and a home run. He also stole 10 bases and walked (24) more times than he struck out (20).
“Dunn is a freak athlete; he could be one of the best true center fielders potentially this summer in the West Coast League,” Krustangel said. “Looking to build off last year’s success, one area I felt like we could’ve done a better job was pure defense in the outfield, and I think Hank gives us a strong core.”
Leaverton will play for Seattle University this spring before returning home to Yakima for the summer. He was selected to participate in the All-State Baseball Series last summer after winning a district championship with West Valley High School.
“It’s nice to have a few hometown kids to get the crowd around those kinds of guys,” Krustangel said. “He’s a big righty and comes with high regards. He’s got a firm fastball that lives in the upper 80s.”
He finished his senior campaign 4-0 with a 1.75 ERA, and was ranked the 11th-best right-handed pitcher in the class of 2021 by Perfect Game.
The Pippins are scheduled to open their eighth WCL season at Yakima County Stadium on June 3 with a rematch of the 2021 West Coast League Championship Series against Corvallis. Select single-game tickets and packages are available via PippinsLinks.com.