Raptors Deal Pippins Their Third Loss of the Season Wednesday

Williamson homers for third straight appearance in loss

The Yakima Valley Pippins saw their win streak come to an end Wednesday night in Ridgefield as they fell 13-5 to the Raptors in the second of a three-game series.

The Pippins (14-3, 8-3) and Raptors (10-7, 9-5) will play the final game to decide the series Thursday at 6:35 p.m. as the Pippins look to win their fourth-straight West Coast League series to start the season.

The Raptors got to Pippins starter Kenny Johnson in the first inning after John Peck walked to lead off the bottom of the inning. He stole second base before Reece Hernandez singled to drive in Peck.

Coby Morales hit a line drive that was headed through the right side of the infield when it hit Hernandez on his way to second base, ending the play and putting Morales on first base with one out after Hernandez was called out.

Johnson struck out two of the next three batters to limit the damage. The Raptors loaded the bases in the second inning, but Johnson was able to escape that jam unscathed.

In the third inning, Johnson earned a quick first out before hitting Tafton Hensley, who promptly stole second base.

Brady Kasper hit a ground ball headed for the outfield before Connor Coballes dove to cut it off. He stopped the ball, but his throw got past Willie Lajoie at first base, allowing Hensley to score and Kasper to advance to second base.

Johnson then loaded the bases with a walk and his second hit batter of the inning, and Caden Connor drove in two more runs with a double. Johnson (2-1, 6.08 ERA) was pulled after John Peck drove in a run with a base hit to give the Raptors a 5-0 lead.

Peyton Stumbo was called upon with runners on the corners and one out, and was helped by Michael Carpentier Jr. throwing out Peck trying to steal second base before inducing a lineout to right field to prevent any more runs.

Ridgefield starter Nate Weeldreyer was perfect through the first 11 batters he faced before the Pippins scored for the first time in the fourth inning. With two outs, Lajoie extended his hit streak to 11 games with a pop fly to right field that Connor lost in the clear sky and let drop, allowing Lajoie to reach second for a double.

Noah Williamson followed with a two-run home run to left field to cut the Raptors lead to 5-2. Williamson has hit a home run in each of his last three appearances.

Stumbo set the Raptors down in order in the fourth inning, but got off to a bad start in the fifth with a walk, base hit and double to start the inning. With runners on second and third base, Carpentier attempted a pickoff to third that sailed over Chaz Myers’ glove. The runner on third scored easily, and the runner on second was able to score after Williamson failed to field the ball cleanly.

Weeldreyer (1-0, 5.40 ERA) was pulled in the sixth inning after issuing a pair of walks to Chase Graves and Myers and Lajoie reached on an error by Morales at first base to start the inning.

Ben Larson took over with the bases loaded and no outs, and Williamson hit a sacrifice fly to right field to drive in Graves. Blake Dickman hit an RBI double to cut the Ridgefield lead to 8-4.

Ryan Arredondo came on to pitch the sixth inning for Yakima Valley, and gave up a base hit to the first batter he faced before retiring the next three in order.

He returned for the seventh inning, walking Grant Heiser to lead off the inning before Kody Darcy hit a two-run home run. Two more batters would reach base, setting the table for Morales’ third home run of the season, a three-run shot to right field.

Arredondo got a second out but allowed two more runners to reach, and the Pippins replaced Arredondo with Payton Robertson. Robertson walked the bases loaded before inducing a lineout to force Ridgefield to settle for a 13-4 lead.

In their last trips to the plate, Spencer Marenco and Alex Fernandez – making his Pippins debut – walked, and Marenco tagged up to third on a flyout by Graves and tagged up to score on a sacrifice fly by Myers to score the final Pippins run.

By Chris Rosato Jr.

June 24, 2021