Pippins Fall to Port Angeles in Wild Series Opener

YAKIMA, Wash. – In a wild series opener at Yakima County Stadium, the Yakima Valley Pippins fell, 4-1, to the Port Angeles Lefties, in the series opener of a 4-game series at Yakima County Stadium.

The Pippins (1-3, 12-180 didn’t score a run against the Lefties (2-1, 12-17) until the bottom of the ninth, but a wild night throughout ensured one of the wackiest games of the 2019 season. The Lefties struck early off of Pippins reliever Ryan Jameson, tagging him for two runs in the fourth inning after an infield single by Gavin Rork and a single by Justin Fugitt put two on with no outs. A wild pitch scored Rork, and Baxter Halligan followed with a sacrifice fly to score Fugitt and make it 2-0.

From there, the Lefties pitching staff cruised, with starter Nate Weeldreyer tossing 3 scoreless innings and reliever Michael Buchanan – who picked up his first win in relief – allowing just one baserunner over four scoreless frames. Tension ensued in the sixth inning, when Pippins manager Marcus McKimmy was ejected for arguing with home plate umpire Kyle Katz. The Lefties added two more runs that inning, with Halligan tagging reliever Mark Woinarowicz for an RBI double, and another run coming in to score on a passed ball.

In the bottom of the ninth, the Pippins, off of Port Angeles reliever A.C. Chavez, rallied to score their only run of the ballgame. After Brady Hormel hit a leadoff single, back-to-back groundouts moved him to third. A batter later, Nick Israel hit an infield single that scored Hormel. The next batter, Tyler Dean, reached on a fielding error, before chaos ensued.

After one pitch was thrown to Luke Schwartz, a massive argument erupted between both umpires and two of the Pippins coaches, as well as the entire Pippins dugout. Due to the lengthy delay, the Lefties changed pitchers, putting right-hander Carter Loewen into the game. On a full count, Loewen got Schwartz to bounce out to third base, but after the Lefties had already gone onto the field to celebrate, the call was overturned, and Schwartz was called safe, loading the bases.

A batter later – and after Lefties manager Darren Westergard was ejected – Christian Padilla struck out on a high fastball to end the wild contest. The series will continue on Saturday with a 6:35 PM first pitch at Yakima County Stadium. Right-hander Joe Magrisi will start for the Pippins opposite Port Angeles’ Tyler Tan. Pregame coverage with Miles Klotz begins at 6:20 PM at pippinsbaseball.com/live.

By Miles Klotz

July 13, 2019