Pitching Dominates Middle Game as Pippins Even Series

Dickman drives in all three Pippins run in win

Saturday’s game between the Yakima Valley Pippins and Bend Elks turned into a pitching showcase, with just three earned runs scored and 18 strikeouts between the two teams as the Pippins evened the series with a 3-1 victory.

Elks starter A.J. Lattery gave up just three hits in six innings of work, and all three came in the first inning. Chaz Myers and Connor Coballes led off the game with singles and moved up a base each with a double steal with two outs.

Blake Dickman hit a grounder back up the middle that Lattery booted toward the shortstop Peter Mendazona. Rather than hold it, allowing the one run to score and conceding the single, Mendazona threw to first and threw it away, allowing Coballes to score and Dickman to reach second.

Tyler Frieders started on the mound for the Pippins, turning in seven scoreless innings while striking out five and allowing just five hits. 

After setting the Elks down in order in the first, Frieders allowed a hit to Julian Kodama to lead off the second inning and bounced a pickoff attempt that got past Lajoie, allowing Kodama to advance to third base. Frieders stranded him there, and the Elks would not have another runner get past first base until he left the game.

Frieders gave way to Landon Schirer in the eighth, handing over a 2-0 lead. Schirer walked the first batter he faced and would load the bases with one out before Chase Matheny hit a line drive to center that allowed the runner on third to tag up and score. Kodama would fly out to end the inning.

Dillon Holliday replaced Lattery in the seventh inning, striking out three and allowing no hits in the seventh and eighth innings, but ran into trouble in the ninth.

Noah Williamson led off the inning and was hit by an 0-2 pitch that he appeared to start to swing at, but was awarded first base as the umpires decided he did not go around. He would move to third on two different wild pitches before scoring on Dickman’s second RBI-base hit of the game to give the Pippins a 3-1 lead.

The Elks then made a change, bringing in two-way player Matt Dallas. Dallas gave up a pair of singles to load the bases, but struck out the next three batters to escape the jam without any further damage.

Schirer returned for the ninth and looked much sharper, striking out the first two batters of the inning before hitting Bryce Boettcher. Mason Guerra lined out to Mason Marenco for the final out to secure Schirer’s (0-0, 2.25 ERA) second save in as many chances.

Frieders (2-1, 3.00 ERA) received the win for his efforts while Lattery (1-1, 3.76 ERA) was tagged with the loss.

Sunday’s game will decide the series before the Pippins conclude their first half with a trip to Walla Walla Monday-Wednesday.

By Chris Rosato Jr.

July 4, 2021