Pippins Win Series, Inch Closer to First Half Win

Marenco brothers go 4-for-9, 3 RBI, 1 run scored in win

The Yakima Valley Pippins are one win away from clinching a first half championship after holding off the Bend Elks, 5-4, to win the series Sunday.

The Pippins can clinch the top spot in the first half with just one win in their final first half series in Walla Walla Monday-Wednesday.

Neither team scored in the first inning for the first time in the series, but the Pippins put four hits together in the second inning to get on the board.

Mason Marenco singled with one out and Taylor Holder doubled to put them on second and third base. Chase Graves then drove in Marenco, leaving runners on the corners, and Spencer Marenco doubled to the warning track in right-center to score Holder before Graves was thrown out at the plate trying to score from first.

Peyton Stumbo made his first start on the mound for the Pippins, blanking the Elks in the first inning before hitting Bryce Boettcher with one out in the second inning. Gavin Logan hit a comebacker to Stumbo that bounced off his foot and redirected into right field, moving Boettcher to third base. He scored the first Elks run after tagging up on a sacrifice fly to center by Mason Guerra.

From there, Stumbo allowed just one hit and hit one other batter over the next three innings, far exceeding his longest appearance of three innings.

Mason Marenco drove in two more runs with a base hit in the fifth inning after Connor Coballes singled to lead off the inning and Sam Olsson reached on a fielder’s choice that the Elks failed to record an out on.

The final Pippins run came in the sixth inning, started by Chase Graves walking to start the inning. Spencer Marenco singled to put runners on first and second, and Graves tagged up to third on a flyout to left field by Alex Shanks to put runners on the corners with one out.

Coballes hit a grounder to third and Julian Kodama tried to turn a double play, but the speedy Coballes easily beat out the play at first, allowing Graves to score on the play.

Stumbo began to run out of steam as he entered the bottom of the sixth inning. He got the leadoff hitter to ground out before issuing his first walk of the day. The next batter worked a full count before Stumbo got him to fly out, but a second walk put two runners on base before Gavin Logan took Stumbo deep to right field to cut the Pippins lead to 5-4.

Stumbo was pulled with two outs in the inning after the home run in favor of Owen Wild, who promptly loaded the bases with two walks and a single before striking out Gavin Rork to end the inning. 

He gave up a base hit to start the seventh inning before retiring the next six batters to get through the eighth, and walked the first batter in the ninth before recording the final three outs to finish off the 10-out save. The save was the first of the season for Wild (2-0, 2.64 ERA) while Stumbo (1-0, 5.10 ERA) earned his first win for his efforts.

The Pippins end the first half of the season on the road in Walla Walla before returning home to begin the second half of the season against Bellingham Friday.

By Chris Rosato Jr.

July 5, 2021