Pippins Drop Series in High-Scoring Affair

Pippins, Raptors combine for 22 runs, 27 hits in series finale

The Yakima Valley Pippins were dealt their first series loss after a 13-9 defeat in Ridgefield Thursday.

The Pippins and Raptors combined for 22 runs and 27 hits, but the Pippins failed to score past the fifth inning.

Both starting pitchers were chased after just three innings of work. Taylor Holder walked and Chaz Myers was hit by a pitch to start the game before Ridgefield starter Nick Jennings gave up hits to Willie Lajoie and Sam Olsson to drive in the first run of the game.

Jennings would escape the inning without any further damage.

Dylan Bishop started on the mound for the Pippins and kept the Raptors off the scoreboard in the first after leadoff hitter John Peck reached on an error by Myers to start the inning.

In the bottom of the second inning, Cole Urman led off with a double, Micah McDowell singled and Tanner Jacques walked to load the bases before Caden Connor doubled to drive in all three. Connor would score on a Reece Hernandez base hit to give the Raptors a 4-1 lead.

The Pippins responded with a five-run fifth inning started by Willie Lajoie hitting a three-run home run – his first home run of the season – to right field. Noah Williamson and Sam Olsson reached, and then Mason Marenco singled Williamson home. Olsson would score on a groundout by Blake Dickman.

Bishop got a quick first out in the bottom of the third, but Urman reached on Myers’ second error of the night and the next five batters reached on either base hits or walks to drive in another four runs and put Ridgefield back on top, 8-6.

The inning finally came to an end when Hernandez flew out to center before Williamson made a diving catch in center field to retire Morales. Bishop ate the loss and saw his ERA rise to 5.06.

Case Matter made his first West Coast League appearance, pitching the fourth inning for the Pippins and struggled as well, hitting Will Chambers to start the inning and allowing Urman and Darcy to reach on hits to load the bases. McDowell grounded into a fielder’s choice to score Chambers from third. 

McDowell stole second base and Jacques walked to load the bases, setting the table for a two-run base hit by John Peck to extend their lead to 11-6. Matter’s ERA sits at 27.00 after the one-inning appearance. 

The Pippins scored again in the fifth inning after Marenco and Alex Shanks reached on a one-out walk and single. Dickman hit a come-backer to the pitcher Cooper Vasquez who threw to second to start a double play, but threw it in the turf and into center field to allow Marenco to score.

Spencer Marenco then walked to load the bases, and Taylor Holder hit a grounder that could have been another double play ball, but Kody Darcy stepped on third base and overthrew first base, allowing Shanks to score. Myers doubled to drive in Spencer Marenco for the final Pippins run of the game, cutting the Raptors’ lead to 11-9.

Ben Wills pitched scoreless fifth and sixth innings despite loading the bases in the fifth and allowing a runner in the sixth. In the seventh, he loaded the bases and walked his third batter of the inning to force across a run before the Pippins turned to Weston Janavs.

Janavs induced a groundout, but the defense could only get an out at second base, scoring a second run. Janavs got another groundout to end the inning.

In the eighth, Janavs loaded the bases before striking out the next three batters. He now sports a 0.00 ERA with six strikeouts over three innings.

Eli Shubert closed out the final 4.1 innings and faced just one extra batter over the minimum to earn the win and lower his ERA to 1.42.

The Pippins head home for a weekend series with the Walla Walla Sweets, who sit two games behind the Pippins in the North Division standings. Game times have been pushed back in anticipation of extreme temperatures, with Friday’s game starting at 7:35 p.m.

By Chris Rosato Jr.

June 25, 2021