Phelan Home Run Lifts Pippins Over Sweets

WALLA WALLA, Washington — Jace Phelan blasted a one-out, 2-2 pitch over the right-field fence in the eighth, and the Yakima Valley Pippins held on for a 4-3 victory over the Walla Walla Sweets on Friday in the first game of the “Battle of the Basin” series between the two sibling rivals.

Trailing 3-1, the Pippins started the rally when Mike Woodward drew a walk. Josh Aribal relieved Dylan Silver on the mound for the Sweets, and Josh Hankins then also reached via walk. Hankins was forced out at second on a fielder’s choice grounder by Tommy Eisenstat before Phelan launched his eventual game-winning hit.

With the one-run lead, the Pippins turned to Jackson Betancourt and Payton Graham to shut down the Sweets in the final two innings. Betancourt surrendered a leadoff single, but got Manny Casillas to ground into a 4-6-3 double play, and a fly out to center ended the frame.

In the ninth, Graham walked the leadoff batter before getting back-to-back strikeouts and a fly out to right field to end the game and earn the save.

Andrick Jones earned the win for the Pippins with 1.1 innings of relief of starter Jaydon Tomas. Jones struck out two and walked one.

Phelan’s blast was one of the Pippins’ five hits. Jake Borst plated YV’s run in the seventh with a two-out single.

Kennedy Hara led the Sweets with a 3-for-5 effort at the plate, and Andrew Graham was 2-for-4.

The Battle of the Basin series, presented by Cascade Natural Gas Corp., continues at Borleske Stadium on Saturday and Sunday before finishing at Yakima County Stadium on July 28-30.

By Logan Peter

June 24, 2023