Pippins Clinch Division with 7-6 Win over Cowlitz - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Pippins Clinch Division with 7-6 Win over Cowlitz

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YAKIMA, WA – A historic inaugural season of Yakima Valley Pippins Baseball added another memorable moment Wednesday, as the Pippins used a walk-off squeeze bunt in the 9th inning to beat the Cowlitz Black Bears, 7-6, and clinch the West Coast League’s East Division crown.

The Pippins (33-18), just days after becoming the winningest first-year team in the WCL, became the second expansion team to make the playoffs in its first year, and the first to get there by way of winning a divisional title.

Cowlitz (22-29) tried to spoil the fun early, scoring three runs in the top of the 1st inning against starter Mitch Yada. The Pippins, however, answered with a run in the bottom of the 1st and took the lead with three more in the 2nd. A Kyle Thomson RBI single pushed the lead to 5-3 after three innings of play.

Cowlitz, however, was not deterred. The Black Bears tied the game with a two-run double from Casey Worden in the 6th and took the lead on a Johnathon Serven RBI single in the 7th.

The back-and-forth affair continued into the 8th, where Justin Jacobs lined a solo home run over the right field wall to tie the game at 6. It was the final hit in a 5-5 night for Jacobs. Alex Guenette also went 4-5 for Yakima Valley in the victory.

After reliever Kenny Rosenberg kept the Black Bears scoreless in the top of the 9th, the Pippins got a one-out walk from Ryan Yamane in the bottom of the 9th. Pinch-runner Andrew Castillo moved to 3rd base on Guentte’s fourth single of the night, setting up newcomer Kyle Thomson, who joined the team just two weeks ago. In a 1-1 count, Thomson put down a safety squeeze, scoring Castillo from 3rd base to seal the win and the divisional title for the Pippins.

Yakima Valley has won 10 straight games and will take a day off Thursday before finishing the regular season in Wenatchee this Friday-Sunday. Bellingham and Corvallis have clinched the other two divisions, while the wild card will come down to Bend or Wenatchee. Once the wild card is decided, the Pippins will learn who they will play in the first round of the WCL playoffs. The first round will run Tuesday-Thursday in a best-of-three series.
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