YAKIMA, Wash. – Aidan Welch played the role of walk-off hero on Thursday night at Yakima County Stadium, singling through the left side of the infield in the bottom of the 10th inning to score Eddy Pelc and lead the Yakima Valley Pippins to an 11-10 walk-off win over the Northwest Honkers, sweeping the 2-game non-league series.
After Eddy Pelc drew a walk and Luke Schwartz was hit by a pitch to put the winning run at second base with one out, Welch dug in against Honkers reliever Austin Pesicka. Welch fouled off three tough pitches, working the count to 2-2, before smacking a fastball through the left side of the infield, scoring Pelc ahead of a throw from left fielder Paul Bryniarksi. It gave the Pippins their first walk-off win of the 2019 season.
Even disregarding the crazy ending, it was a wild game from start to finish to wrap up the 2-game series. The Pippins fell behind early to the Honkers, trailing 5-0 after an inning and a half, as the Honkers crushed Pippins starter Ayden Adams for a pair of doubles in the second, including a 2-run extra-base knock by Brock Bueno. The Pippins quickly responded, however, with at least one run in each inning from the 2nd through the 7th.
The biggest frame came in the fourth, when, having again surrendered the lead, the Pippins struck for four runs, capped off by an RBI double down the right-field line from Greg Fuchs to make it a one-run game. After tying it back up in the fifth inning at 8, the Pippins surrendered the lead – and tied it again – with a run in the sixth.
In the top of the 7th, the Honkers struck for an unearned run off of Pippins reliever Anthony Alvarado. Zachary Zurbrugg brought home Kendall Yackley on a sacrifice fly, after Alvarado’s throwing error allowed Yackley to reach second. In the bottom of the seventh, the defensive misfortune benefitted the Pippins, as Nick DiCarlo’s soft fly ball into left field was dropped by Bryniarski, scoring Kyle Dean and tying the game at 10.
With the Pippins hoping to conserve pitchers for a 4-game series in 3 days over the weekend against Port Angeles in WCL play, infielder Tanner Parker pitched the top of the tenth inning and earned the win in relief, stranding the bases loaded with a pair of strikeouts and two walks. The Pippins, on offense, drew a season-high fifteen walks, to just one strikeout (a season low).
Having completed a 3-0 set of non-league games, the Pippins welcome in the Port Angeles Lefties for a WCL series starting Friday night at 7:05 PM at Yakima County Stadium. Friday night is Military Appreciation Night, with postgame fireworks to follow the series opener. Ryan Jameson will start for the Pippins opposite Port Angeles righty Nate Weeldreyer. Pregame coverage with Miles Klotz begins at pippinsbaseball.com/live at 6:50 PM.