Great hitting, shutdown pitching leads Pippins to victory
The Yakima Valley Pippins improved to 8-0 in non-league play with a 10-2 win over the visiting Highline Bears Wednesday.
The Bears struck first for the second night in a row, this time waiting until the second inning to take a 2-0 lead. The Pippins answered with a big bottom of the second inning.
Noah Williamson led off the inning with a mile-high pop fly in the infield that bounced out of the glove of shortstop Devin Carter, allowing him to reach. Williamson would move to second base on a wild pitch, but he was hit by a grounder off the bat of Willie Lajoie, putting Lajoie on first with Williamson becoming the second out of the inning.
Chase Graves singled and Austin Plante walked to load the bases before Alex Fernandes forced home the first Pippins run of the game with a walk. With the bases still loaded, Chaz Myers cleared the bases with a double to give the Pippins a 4-2 lead.
In the third inning, Sam Olsson led off with a double and Williamson walked before Mason Marenco doubled home Olsson. Williamson scored on a groundout by Lajoie to put Yakima Valley up 6-2.
After Graves walked, Austin Plante singled home Marenco and moved up to second base on the throw home. Fernandes flew out to center field, allowing both runners to advance and putting the Pippins up 8-2.
Dylan Bishop started on the mound for the Pippins, allowing just the two runs in five innings of work. He struck out three and walked one, allowing four hits. At one point, he retired 10 straight batters on the way to earning the win.
The Pippins added another run in the fifth inning, again forcing home a run on a bases-loaded walk by Bryce Martin-Grudzielanek. Austin Plante grounded into a fielder’s choice with the bases loaded in the sixth inning – narrowly beating out the double play attempt – to drive in the final Pippins run.
Peyton Stumbo pitched a scoreless sixth inning for Yakima Valley, allowing a pair of singles to start his outing before inducing a ground ball double play and striking out Kyle Casperson to end the inning.
Julian Taudin-Chabot took over in the seventh, turning in two scoreless innings without a hit, though he did walk three batters. He struck out two as well.
Brock Molenda, who joined the team Tuesday and started behind the plate, entered in relief to pitch the final frame. After getting a flyout to start his outing, he allowed a single and walked a batter, but Jaren Larson grounded into a double play to end the game.
The Pippins and Bears will conclude their series Thursday before the Pippins return to West Coast League play with a trip to Cowlitz Friday-Sunday.