Two More Arms, One Local, Join Pippins

YAKIMA, Washington — Freshman right-handed pitcher Garin Gurtler from East Valley and sophomore right-handed pitcher James Joss are joining the Yakima Valley Pippins this summer.

Gurtler is in his first year at the collegiate level but is already getting plenty of experience at Big Bend Community College. The Vikings went on a five-game winning streak in the middle of March before eventually dropping a few games this past weekend. Gurtler has been a significant part of the rotation so far this year, already seeing action in five games, with more than 20 innings pitched.

The Leavenworth, Washington-native is excited to get to travel with the team this summer and really test himself against West Coast League competition.

“Some expectations are just getting to know different guys from different places, going to Canada, and just facing better pitching and guys who are really good hitters,” Gurtler said about the upcoming season.

The 6-foot-2 pitcher was a multi-sport athlete growing up with football and baseball. Baseball won out for him in the end because he realized how much he excelled on the baseball diamond.

“I loved football growing up, and then I kind of lost the feel for it at my high school,” the young pitcher said. “I had excelled that summer (in baseball) to where I kind of lost feel for (football). I still played football because I loved it also, but going to the next level in baseball had my heart.”

Joss will come to Yakima this summer after his sophomore season with the Wenatchee Valley College Knights. He has been one of the top pitchers this season for the Knights, leading them in innings pitched with a .98 WHIP.

The 6-foot pitcher from Maple Valley, Washington, will be a valuable piece to the Pippins rotation if he can translate his success from the Northwest Athletic Conference to the WCL this summer. Joss is averaging an 8.19 K/9 through this past weekend and is looking to continue to lead the way for the Knights in 2024.

The Pippins begin their 10th anniversary season in just over two months, as the May 31 opening day in the WCL draws near. The season will begin at home against the Springfield Drifters in a three-game series. Single-game tickets for all 32 home games for Yakima Valley will go on sale in April.

By Jake Schrantz

March 25, 2024