Pippins Take Down Corvallis in Game 1 of Divisional Round

YAKIMA, Wash.- The Pippins were 0-6 against Corvallis with 6 combined runs in the regular season, but after sneaking into a playoff spot on the final day, a rejuvenated lineup upset the #1 seed 7-6 on Tuesday night.

A 6-run comeback from Cowlitz to beat Bend in the regular season finale gave Yakima Valley the chance at revenge against the 5-time defending WCL Champions, and the Pippins capitalized in the series opener.

The Pipps were riding a 4-game win streak and 8-straight series wins into the Playoffs, and they went to crafty right-hander Daniel Charron to start against the Knights.

The soon-to-be Central Washington Wildcat set the tone with a 1-2-3 first inning and the bats got going out of the gate.

Yakima Valley tallied 3 hits in the first off of University of Utah starter Cam Day, who has only allowed 1 earned run in his 5 outings with Corvallis this summer.

The Pippins finished with 2 in the first inning alone, and after Charron worked out of a 2-on and 1-out jam, the bottom of the lineup would add another on 3 more hits in the 2nd.

Charron tossed another scoreless frame which saw a baserunner picked off and the first strikeout for the Spokane Falls product, and an intentional rundown extended the Pippins lead to 4-0 after 3.

Cam Day was replaced after the 3rd and both sides would be scoreless in the 4th. Corvallis finally found some success in the 5th as they got on the scoreboard.

2 errors on the same play from the Pippins defense resulted in a trio of Corvallis runs but Charron battled out of the inning and finished his night with 5 innings allowing 2 earned runs, exiting with a 4-3 lead.

Pippins bats stayed hot and picked up 3 more hits in the 5th including a Jake Borst RBI single and the lead was increased to 2.

Yakima Valley called upon incoming freshman at UCLA Chris Grothues to come in leading by a pair in the 6th. The recent high-school graduate retired the side in order and fired up the dugout once again.

A leadoff double from Spencer Marenco and RBI hits from Connor Coballes and Jaxon Sorenson plated 2 more against reliever Sean Wiese, who had a 1.50 ERA entering the game.

The cushion was up to 4 runs for Grothues but the stacked Corvallis lineup was not going down without a fight.

A Tyler Quinn double helped score 2 runs in the 7th and Corvallis cut it to 7-5.

For only the second time in the game, the Pippins had a scoreless inning offensively in the 7th and the 8th would start with a 2-run advantage.

Grothues was rattled a bit to start the inning, hitting the first 2 batters and bringing the go-ahead run to the plate.

A failed bunt allowed Jake Borst to throw out the lead runner at 3rd and gave the Pipps the 1st out.

It brought up Tyler Quinn, and again the third baseman came up huge for Corvallis. He rocked a ball over Shayne Simpson in left which scored 1 run easy and the tying run was waved home.

Simpson fired into Connor Coballes and a strike to the plate from the shortstop cut down the tying run at the plate. The perfect relay was followed by a groundout to end the top of the 8th and the Pippins stayed in front.

A scoreless 8th put the Pippins 3-outs from a huge game 1 victory, and Kyle Krustangel put his faith in another incoming freshman, Isaac Yeager.

The soon-to-be Washington Husky got a groundout to start the frame, but put the tying run aboard on a 1-out walk.

Yeager took a deep breath and reset, responding with an 8-pitch punchout of Mason Le in a battle of an at-bat.

Andrew Walters got a groundball from Spencer Scott and recorded the final out at second base to send the crowd into a frenzy and secure the victory.

Daniel Charron earned the 5th Pippins postseason victory in history of the team, Chris Grothues earned a 3 inning hold, and Isaac Yeager picked up the save en route to the 7-6 win.

The bats finished with 14 hits, all 9 Pippins reached at least once, and 8 of 9 Pippins had at least one hit.

Yakima Valley has an opportunity to knock off the 5-time defending champs in the first round of the WCL as they hit the road to play the Knights at 6:35 on Wednesday.

Audio stream Is available on mixlr.com/pippinsbaseball going live at 6:20.

By Zach McKinstry

August 10, 2022