KELOWNA, B.C. – The Yakima Valley Pippins battled back from numerous deficits throughout, but eventually fell to the Kelowna Falcons, 9-8, in walk-off fashion to open up a 3-game series at Elks Stadium in British Columbia on Wednesday.
The Pippins (7-7, 18-22) took the early lead against Kelowna (4-9, 14-25) by posting 4 runs on 6 hits in the top of the fourth inning against Falcons right-handed starter Zach Jacobs. From that point forward, a cycle of lead trading and tie games began, with the Falcons striking four four runs off of Pippins starter Tyler Frazier in the bottom of the fifth inning. Both starters took no-decisions.
In the top of the sixth inning, the Pippins re-took the lead, 5-4, but Kelowna quickly responded in the bottom half with a 2-run frame off of right-hander reliever Mark Woinarowicz. In the 8th inning, the Pippins again tied things up on a James Bell RBI groundout, but Kelowna responded off of Woinarowicz again for two runs to re-take the lead in the bottom half.
In the ninth inning, with start Kelowna reliever Connor Hurley on the mound, the Pippins put two men on with two outs for outfielder Christian Padilla. Padilla roped a single up the middle, scoring the two runners and tying the game at 8 with the Pippins down to their final out in the ninth inning.
In the bottom half of the ninth, the Pippins had a scare, as reliever Nick Brown allowed a leadoff double to Brett Tressen, who moved up to third on a sacrifice. The Pippins then elected to walk to the bases loaded, and the decision paid off after Conagher Sands grounded into a 6-4-3 double play to send the game to extra innings.
In the tenth inning, however, the Pippins were not able to escape the same kind of scare. Kelowna got a leadoff walk from Brad Norton, who moved up to second base on a sacrifice and up to third on a wild pitch. A batter later, infielder Richie Sede, who was 0-for-5 in his first 5 at-bats, singled the opposite way into left field to walk it off for Kelowna.
Outfielder Kyle Dean, who entered the game in relief in the tenth inning, took the loss for the Pippins, his first of the season. Left-hander Ian Turner earned the win for Kelowna, improving to 1-2 on the season.
The series continues on Thursday with a 6:35 PM scheduled first pitch from Elks Stadium in Kelowna. The Pippins will send right-hander Bo Henderson to the mound against a to-be-determined right-hander for the Falcons.