Trio From California Schools Added to Pippins Roster

YAKIMA, Wash. – Yakima Valley Pippins head coach Kyle Krustangel continues to expand the depth of his roster and the breadth of schools he draws upon with his latest three additions to the 2021 roster.

Starting from Southern California and moving north, the Pippins have added third baseman Johnny Giannola of San Diego State University, right-handed pitcher Weston Janavs of Pomona-Pitzer and fellow right-hander Julian Washburn of the University of San Francisco to bring the announced roster to 34 players.

Giannola will be reunited with his Santa Margarita Catholic High School teammate Connor Bane, announced last week, when he reports to Yakima this summer. Giannola and Bane captured the 2019 CIF Southern Section Division 2 championship as juniors before their 2020 senior season was shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I know that Giannola’s coaches have talked a lot about Johnny in terms of being a guy who can really play the hot corner over at third,” Krustangel said. “He has a big-time glove and can really pick and throw, but also has some thump in the bat as well, so we’re excited to get him up to Yakima.”

Signing Janavs continues to build on the relationship Krustangel had established with the Pomona Pitzer coaching staff during his time with the Wenatchee AppleSox, as well as his own coaching tree. First-year pitching coach at Pomona-Pitzer Chris Petrosie played for the Yaks during Krustangel’s first year at the helm in 2016, helping the team to an NWAC championship and earning NWAC MVP honors in the process.

“It’s exciting that there’s a little bit of continuity with the coaches that Weston will have that have ties to Yakima as well,” Krustangel said.

Washburn is getting a second chance at a junior season with the University of San Francisco. He owns a career 8-3 record with the Dons, with a nearly 2:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio and has held opponents to a .265 batting average over 74 innings.

He made one appearance in the Dons’ 2-1 series win against UCLA this past weekend, striking out one in a scoreless 1.2 innings. As a freshman, the Lewiston, Idaho, native played for Walla Walla Community College.

“He’ll be really dynamic for us in terms of being a starter, reliever or closer,” Krustangel said. “He’s got a plus-fastball, plus-off-speed pitch, and I’m excited for him as someone who’s semi-local but also a proven college guy.”

Single-game tickets for all 32 home games are now available for groups of 10 or more at The Pippins are also seeking host families to house some of the top college baseball talent in the country during the 2021 season. The Pippins are scheduled to open their seventh WCL season at Yakima County Stadium on June 4.

By Chris Rosato Jr.

February 25, 2021