Whitman Duo, Portland Catcher Added to Roster

Utility players Maguire and Villaflor returning for full season in Yakima

YAKIMA, Wash. – Another pair of familiar faces is set to return to The Orchard this summer. Catcher/utility player Gabe Villaflor (University of Portland) and infielder/utility Beck Maguire (Whitman College) both had limited roles last year and are returning for full seasons. Joining them is right-hander Wyatt Adams, also from Whitman, who is making his first appearance with the Pippins.

“Utility players are so valuable in the dog days of summer,” Pippins manager Kyle Krustangel said. “Both hitters can be used all over on the field, which will be huge when guys need rest or get hurt.

“Beck’s a true workhorse that puts countless hours in off the field. He deserves everything he gets back from this game,” Krustangel continued. “When Gabe’s bat is hot, it’s very hard to keep him out of the lineup. I’m extremely excited to be with both of them for the full summer this time around.”

Villaflor enters his redshirt freshman year at Portland. The Duvall, Washington, native played four years at The Bear Creek School, where he was team captain his senior season. In 13 games, Villaflor had a home run, nine RBIs and a team-leading 10 stolen bases.

The former two-sport star has always loved the idea of playing the game he loves in his home state.

“I remember going to the SunDome and Yakima County Stadium as a kid,” Villaflor said. “Playing in Yakima is a full-circle moment for me, having my friends and family so close and able to watch me play is amazing for all of us.”

Maguire is in his third collegiate season at Whitman. The Boise, Idaho, native is coming off an impressive 2022 campaign for the Blues. In 36 games played last season, Maguire hit .326 with 28 RBIs and six stolen bases.

Maguire carried his 2022 season into the start of 2023, this has helped Whitman to a 10-6 record so far this spring. To date, Maguire is hitting .356 with a double, home run and 11 RBIs. He hit a monster grand slam to help his team take a 9-4 win over the University of Puget Sound earlier this month.

The former Boise High School playmaker knows how special this summer can be, and wants to make sure it isn’t taken for granted.

“I was really excited hearing I’d be coming back,” Maguire said. “I do want to make sure I stay in the moment, soaking it up and having a great time. We focus so much on the future or the past, so this summer I want to be where my feet are and have as much fun as I can while winning a lot of games.”

Adams, a sophomore from Seattle in his second season with Whitman, is 2-2 with a 5.97 ERA in 23.1 innings pitched so far this season, with 28 strikeouts against 25 walks in his five starts. Last year, Adams appeared in 12 games, starting seven. He finished 1-1 with 21 strikeouts in 32.1 innings.

“Wyatt has a great pitching frame. His high-80s fastball looks low 90s to an opposing batter and, with the amount of innings he can go, he will be a key part of our staff,” Krustangel said.

The former Bishop Blanchet High standout is happy with the strides taken so far from last year to now, but he knows he has not yet reached his peak.

“This year I’m working to improve my mentality on the mound,” Adams said. “I’ve also been working extremely hard on my change-up, I’m hopeful that work will translate on the mound this year.”

The Pippins’ first home series at The Orchard against defending WCL champion Corvallis on June 6. Single-game tickets go on sale for all Pippins home games in early April.

By Logan Peter

March 14, 2023