The Yakima Valley Pippins open up their 2019 season tonight in Clark County, taking on the expansion Ridgefield Raptors on the road at the brand-new Ridgefield Outdoor Recreation Complex. First pitch is set for 6:35 PM PT. The game can be heard live at pippinsbaseball.com/live, with Miles Klotz on the call.
PIPPINS OPEN 2019 SEASON IN RIDGEFIELD: The 2019 Yakima Valley Pippins season, the 6th season in franchise history, opens today in Ridgefield, Washington, as the Pippins and the expansion Ridgefield Raptors square off for the first time in each franchise’s history. The game will mark the first-ever trip by the Pippins to Clark County, with Ridgefield being the first team from Clark County in the West Coast League. The two teams will meet 6 times in the Raptors’ inaugural season, with a three-game series set for July 27-29 at Yakima County Stadium.
EXPANSION HISTORY: The Pippins are second all-time in WCL history in wins by an expansion team, finishing with a 35-19 record and WCL playoff appearance in 2014. Vince Fernandez was also named WCL Most Valuable Player that year, becoming the first MVP to come from an expansion team (excluding the league’s first year, in 2005). Last season, the Pippins were 0-3 against WCL expansion teams, being swept in 3 games by the league’s 11th team, the Portland Pickles, on the road.
FOR THE PIPPINS: Left-hander Dylan Barkley will get the ball for the Pippins in the first game of the 2019 season. Barkley, a 5-foot-11, 155-pound redshirt sophomore from Montana State-Billings, had a strong freshman year in the Division 2 ranks for the Yellowjackets, posting a 4.84 ERA over 14 appearances (13 starts) while striking out 59 batters in 67 innings.
FOR THE RAPTORS: Ridgefield has not announced a projected starting pitcher for tonight’s game.
EXPERIENCED COACHING TO LEAD 2019 ROSTER: Three new assistant coaches will join 6th-year Pippins manager Marcus McKimmy on the staff in 2019, all with Washington ties. Pitching coach Rob Hippi, a member of the Central Washington University athletics Hall of Fame, pitched professionally in the Yankees organization, and then spent 23 years at Lower Columbia College in Longview. Hippi also won 4 West Coast League titles while coaching with the Wenatchee AppleSox. Former Pippins infielder Justin Jacobs, who played on the inaugural 2014 team, joins the staff as an assistant after his first year coaching at Spokane Falls (Wash.) Community College. Jacobs played at Gonzaga, and professionally in the Texas Rangers organization. Former professional pitcher Dustin Brader, a Selah native, also joins the Pippins as a volunteer assistant coach for home games. Brader, a Selah High School graduate, played college baseball at Arizona State, and professionally in the Rangers organization.