Sweets Spoil Game 3 with 9th Inning Lead
YAKIMA, Wash.- The tie-breaking finale between the Pippins and the Sweets went to Walla Walla in a back in forth 7-6 game.
For the 3rd consecutive game, Walla Walla would lead after the top of the 1st, as this time the Sweets bats produced 2 runs off of starter Liam McCallum.
The Pippins would battle from behind, plating 4 in the 2nd with 2-outs on a clutch single from Hank Dunn and double from Spencer Shipman. This gave Yakima Valley their first lead which they would hold onto for a while.
After that, the Pippins were left frustrated at the plate for a good chunk of the game. There were several promising run-scoring opportunities that couldn’t be capitalized on, including one in the 3rd where catcher Josh Davis was hit by the pitch and would exit the game, but the home plate umpire said the bat went around and it was ruled a strike.
This led to the first ejection of the year for head coach Kyle Krustangel, who voiced his displeasure, as the pinch hitter would ground out on the first pitch he saw and end the inning.
The Sweets would muster another run across in the 3rd to cut it to 1, but after that it became a pitchers duel. Both teams would be held scoreless through the next 3 innings thanks to efforts from Pippins Liam McCallum and Gaven Mattson, and Sweets Quinten O’Connor.
The Sweets would break that streak in the 7th as 3 straight batters reached with 2-outs, the last of which was a 2-RBI single by Cooper Cross to make it 5-4 Walla Walla.
Another big opportunity arose in the 8th for the Pippins, when an error, a single, and a wild pitch put the tying and go-ahead run in scoring position with only 1 out. Reliever Albert Roblez would strike out the next 2 batters but a wild-pitch evened the score at 5.
The final frame was a disaster for the Pippins, as it started with a first pitch double that was a few feet away from leaving the yard. That run was bunted up and driven home on a sac-fly. Another would reach on a hit-by-pitch and a bloop single to left produced one of the worst errors of the season.
No one covered the 3rd base bag allowing Will Fuenning to take an extra base, and a panic throw into the infield couldn’t find anyone in a green jersey and Fuenning would score.
The Pippins were left with a fighter’s chance down by 2 in the bottom of the ninth. With runners on the corners, an attempted double play ball looked like it carried the second baseman off of the bag but the runner was called an out.
Yakima Valley could only score the one run and left the tying run stranded at 2nd. The Pippins move forward to the first road trip of the season as they travel to take on the Bend Elks tomorrow at 6:35.
By Zach McKinstry
June 10, 2022