Late Power Surge Not Enough for Pippins in Loss to Bells
BELLINGHAM, Wash. – The Yakima Valley Pippins hit three home runs in a span of two innings on Sunday night. Unfortunately, they trailed 10-0 leading up to their power surge in the sixth and seventh, and fell 11-5 to the Bellingham Bells in the finale of their six-game road trip before the All-Star break.
The Bells (20-16, 4-5) got started fast off Pippins’ right-hander, Kade Woods (Spokane Falls), as they got a two-run home run from Chase Illig (West Virginia), their representative for the home run derby, to take a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first. In the second, they pushed across three more runs on four hits before getting another two-run home run, this time off the bat of Kody Mathews (Marshall) to knock Woods out of the game after just 2 1/3 innings of work. Kyle Nicol (Cal State Northridge) then came on in relief and allowed a few more runs before finally getting out of the frame with the Pippins trailing 9-0. In the bottom of the fourth, the Bells pushed across another run and ultimately took a 10-0 lead into the sixth inning.
It was in the frame that the Pippins (17-19, 4-5) finally got on the board by using the long ball. First, Jonny DeLuca (Oregon) hit a solo shot over the right field fence. Then, after a Lucas Denney (Seattle U) double, Daniel Cope (Cal State Fullerton) blasted a two-run homer over the left-center field wall to make the score 10-3.
After Bellingham came back with a run in the bottom of the inning, the Pippins kept the power surge going in the top of the seventh, as Nick Plaia (Cal Baptist) hammered a two-run home run over the left field wall to make the score 11-5, which proved to be the final, as the Pippins could not muster up any more offense in the final two frames.
Game Notes: Woods lasted just 2 1/3 innings, the shortest outing by a Pippins starter this season, and the second shortest outing in franchise history. He allowed eight runs on six hits en route to dropping to 4-3. In allowing two more home runs tonight, Woods has now allowed seven home runs for the season, which as of Sunday night, stands as the most in the West Coast League. Bells starter, Zach Pettway (UCLA), went six innings and allowed two home runs in his final frame, but picked up the win to improve to 2-0. Pettway allowed just three hits and kept the Pippins scoreless through five innings before their power surge in the sixth.
With three home runs tonight, the Pippins have now hit 24 for the season, tying their franchise record for a single-season, which they had previously set back in their inaugural season of 2014. That year the Pippins hit seven homers at Yakima County Stadium with 17 coming on the road. It has been a similar story this year, as the Pippins have hit nine long balls at home and 15 on the road. While they have hit 24, the Pippins have also allowed 23, the fourth-most in the WCL.
What It Means: With the win, Bellingham will at best be one game back of Bellingham and/or Victoria in the WCL North second half standings. With the loss, the Pippins will at best be 3.5 games back of Corvallis and may be as much as 4.5 games back at the end of Sunday when all results are final.
What’s Next: Both teams will enjoy a two-day break for the WCL All-Star Festivities at Yakima County Stadium. Denney will participate in the home run derby as part of the Fan Fest on Monday night, while he will be joined by Dillon Plew (Washington State), Steve Sordahl (St. Martin’s), Mitch Ellis (Western Illinois), Cope, and Connor White (Portland) for the WCL All-Star Game on Tuesday night.
First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m. from Yakima County Stadium as the North and South All-Stars go head-to-head.
ABOUT THE PIPPINS: The Yakima Valley Pippins compete in the West Coast League, one of the nation’s premier summer collegiate wood bat leagues. The Pippins play their home games at Yakima County Stadium (“The Orchard”) in Yakima, Washington. After winning 96 games during their first three seasons in the WCL, the Pippins set the mark as the winningest WCL expansion team after three years. Yakima County Stadium will play host to the 2017 West Coast League All-Star Game, along with an extensive 31-game home season for Year No. 4 of Pippins' Baseball in 2017. Read more online at PippinsBaseball.com, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube with #ThatWasAwesome