CORVALLIS, Ore. — Yakima Valley couldn’t stop Corvallis from capturing its fifth straight West Coast League title ’s title Friday night.
The Pippins fell behind early and never recovered in a 13-2 loss, their second straight since opening the best-of-three series with a 4-1 win in Yakima on Tuesday. An offense that averaged more than six runs per game against WCL opponents this summer scored only twice in its final two games.
Corvallis scored early thanks to a pair of two-out hits, starting an unfortunate trend for Yakima Valley pitchers. Starter Seth Kuykendall retired two of the first three batters he faced in the second inning before five consecutive hitters reached base, capped off by Nick Vogt’s triple to extend the lead to 6-0.
Spencer Marenco walked and scored without the benefit of a hit to put the Pippins on the board in the third inning. But Sam Olsson’s first-inning single remained Yakima Valley’s only hit until Alex Shanks’ base hit to lead off the fifth.
The Knights added three more runs with two outs in the sixth inning, when Vogt doubled home two runs and Kiko Romero contributed an RBI single. Those two, along with Briley Knight, accounted for eight hits and 11 of Corvallis’ 13 RBI.
Alex Shanks went 2 for 4, including an RBI double to score Blake Dickman in the ninth after the Pippins gave up four more runs in the eighth. They stranded six baserunners and struck out 12 times against four Corvallis pitchers.
While the Knights started the same lineup for all the three games of the series, three players heading back to school forced Yakima Valley to make some changes in the final two games at Corvallis. Coach Kyle Krustangel, who was ejected for the first time in his debut season after arguing a check swing in the fifth inning, needed to replace catcher Michael Carpentier Jr. and third baseman Chaz Myers from his Game 1 lineup, and outfielder Chase Graves wasn’t available off the bench.
Yakima Valley played in the championship series for the first time ever after winning the first- and second-half North Division titles. The Pippins hadn’t reached the WCL playoffs since 2017.
The league did not play last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and was without its Canadian teams this summer because of travel restrictions.
Yakima Valley had advanced to the championship series after dispatching the Bellingham Bells in three games in the divisional series.
Yakima Valley 001 000 001 — 2 7 0
Corvallis 150 003 04x — 13 16 0
Kuykendall, Wild (3), Matter (6), K. Robertson (8), Sweeney (8) and Olsson. Ross, Dowd (7), Taylor (8), Meyer (9) and Smith.
YV highlights: Sam Olsson 2-4; Alex Shanks 2-4, 2b, RBI.