Carpentier Jr. ties game twice in last two innings, balk ends game
In a game that took 16 innings and 5 hours and will have big ramifications in the North Division, the Yakima Valley Pippins earned a walk-off win with a balk in the bottom of the 16th inning against the Walla Walla Sweets Sunday night.
Walla Walla (7-8) had pulled to within one game of the lead in the North with a win in the series opener, but now falls to three games behind the Pippins (10-5) with Sunday’s loss.
Connor Wilson made a spot start for the Pippins, tossing four innings and giving up just one run with one walk and one strikeout. Wilson had been pitching for the Cascade League’s showcase team, including an appearance against the Pippins on June 19.
Paul Myro reached to start the game and came around to score the first run of the game for the third straight game.
The Pippins would answer in the bottom of the first inning, as Chaz Myers singled and Alex Shanks reached on an error by second baseman Connor Cirillo that put them on third and second. Willie Lajoie drove in Myers with a sacrifice fly and Shanks scored on a base hit by Noah Williamson.
Case Matter (0-0, 13.50 ERA) pitched the fifth inning, giving up a leadoff walk but retiring the next three batters for a clean appearance. In the bottom of the fifth, Myers hit his second double of the game and scored on a Lajoie single that extended Lajoie’s hit streak (14 games) and on-base streak (17 games) to give the Pippins a 3-1 lead.
Myers would hit his third double of the game in the seventh inning, tying the franchise record. Nick Plaia was the last to accomplish the feat in 2017.
Sweets starter Nate Dahle (0-2, 4.61 ERA) was pulled with two outs in the fifth inning after walking his first batter of the game. He was taken off the hook for the loss after the Sweets later tied the game.
Dylan Bishop turned in two innings of one-run ball. He gave up a leadoff base hit in the sixth inning to Seth Ryberg, who scored on a double by Niko Khoury. Bishop (2-1, 5.00 ERA) gave way to Owen Wild in the eighth inning.
Wild, looking to rebound after walking four out of five batters in Friday’s appearance, looked much sharper. He gave up one hit in his one inning of work, but the tying run would come around to score when Khoury hit a line drive to left field that popped out of Taylor Holder’s glove.
After Wild (2-0, 4.21 ERA), the Pippins utilized Kenny Johnson (2-1, 5.65 ERA) for a scoreless ninth, who received help from Michael Carpentier Jr. throwing out his sixth would-be base stealer of the season.
The Sweets offense sputtered over the first four extra innings, striking out four times and grounding into two double plays as they faced Peyton Stumbo (0-0, 4.05 ERA) for the first three innings before Payton Robertson took over in the 13th inning.
The Pippins struggled in the early extras as well, and the Sweets utilized intentional walks that paid off – including walking Blake Dickman (0-for-5 at the time) to get to Taylor Holder (2-for-5) with the bases loaded and one out in the 12th. The Pippins would strand the bases loaded in that inning.
In Robertson’s third inning of work in the 15th inning, Colin Wetterau and Ryberg singled with two outs, and both of them scored after Williamson dove after a line drive by Cameron Butler and failed to make the catch. Butler was thrown out trying to turn the hit into a triple, and the Pippins came to bat trailing for the first time since the first inning.
Eric Romo, who earned the save Friday and was brought on in the 13th inning, hit Holder with a pitch with one out. Carpentier Jr. then took Romo 401 feet to right field to tie the game, 5-5, with a two-run home run.
Romo was removed from the game in favor of Nick Irwin, who got the final two outs despite walking Myers and Shanks.
Robertson returned for the 16th inning and gave up a leadoff triple to Connor Cirillo, who scored on a two-out base hit by Eli Paton to give the Sweets a 6-5 lead.
Irwin looked on track to put the game away after inducing two groundouts to start the bottom of the 16th inning, but Blake Dickman singled up the middle for his first hit of the night. Corey Jarrell pinch-ran for him, and moved to second when Holder worked a full-count walk to bring Carpentier Jr. to the plate again.
Carpentier Jr. singled to left-center field to drive in Jarrell from second, tying the game once again. With runners on the corners and two outs, Irwin failed to come completely set for the 1-0 pitch to Connor Coballes and was called for a walk-off balk.
Irwin (0-1, 12.46 ERA) was tagged with the loss while Robertson’s (1-1, 4.35 ERA) four-inning relief appearance earned him the win.
The Pippins will welcome the Port Angeles Lefties to The Orchard Tuesday-Thursday, starting with Toyota Tuesday Family Night at 7:35 p.m.