LONGVIEW — After the Yakima Valley Pippins scored two runs in the top of the first inning and the Cowlitz Black Bears responded with a run in the bottom of the first, it appeared the offenses might rule the day Sunday at Cowlitz.
But that would be all of the scoring as the Pippins earned a 2-1 victory to avoid their first sweep of the season in West Coast League action.
The Pippins took the early lead as Willie Lajoie’s two-out, two-run home run scored Blake Dickman, who reached on a walk.
Pippins starting pitcher Seth Kuykendall gave up a leadoff homer to Brock Bozett in the bottom of the first, but then slammed the door on the Black Bears.
Kuykendall allowed only three more baserunners in seven innings, two on hits and one on a walk.
Landon Schirer replaced Kuykendall in the eighth inning and pitched two innings to get the save. He escaped a two-out, bases-loaded jam in the eighth by striking out Jaden Sheppard.
After a day off Monday, Pippins return home for a three-game series with the Bend Elks. First pitch Tuesday is set for 6:35 p.m.
Kuykendall, Schirer (8) and Dickman; Martinez, Hatakenaka (7), Sutton (7), Wright (8), Wainarowicz *(9) and Martin.
Yakima Valley highlights: Lajoie 2-run HR. Kuykendall 7 IP, 3 hits, 1 run. Schirer 2 IP, 1 hit, 4 strikeouts.