For the West Coast League championship series, the Corvallis Knights were as strong a favorite as one could imagine.
Four-time reigning champions, the league's best record and fully rested.
But none of that mattered Tuesday night as starter Peyton Stumbo and the Pippins dueled with Corvallis for two hours and then broke away in the eighth inning for a 4-1 victory in the series opener at Yakima County Stadium.
Yakima Valley, which didn't wrap up the North Division series until Monday night while the Knights took care of its business over the weekend, rocked Corvallis for three runs in the bottom of the eighth to break a 1-1 tie.
Catcher Michael Carpentier Jr. provided the spark right away, hitting a leadoff home run on reliever Chase Walter's first pitch. Walter then got two quick outs to make it appear like the duel was still on.
But Alex Shanks and Taylor Holder hit back-to-back doubles to stretch the lead to 3-1, and Chaz Myers added an RBI single to pad the margin to three runs.
Case Matter, who came in for Stumbo in the eighth and allowed the Knights to tie the game at 1-1, finished it off quickly with a 1-2-3 ninth that included two strikeouts.
Matter got the win, but Stumbo was the hero and workhorse.
Used as a long reliever earlier this summer, the 6-foot-1 right-hander got the call to start on Tuesday and responded with seven scoreless innings. He allowed only three hits, walked two and struck out four against the Knights, who tagged Stumbo for four runs in five innings at home on Aug. 5.
Two of the three hits were triples but the first came in the fourth inning with two outs and was stranded and the second three-bagger came in the fifth with one out and was thrown out at home.
After six scoreless frames, the Pippins were the first to break through in the bottom of the seventh when Holder led off with a double and scored on Connor Coballes' single. Holder, batting in the No. 9 spot, was 3-for-4 with two doubles, two runs scored and an RBI.
Yakima Valley will have Wednesday off and then travel to Corvallis for Game 2 on Thursday at 6:35 p.m. If a third game is necessary in the best-of-three series, the Knights will host on Friday at 6:35 p.m.