The Yakima Valley Pippins were up against the possibility of their season coming to an end Sunday night at Yakima County Stadium.
But facing a 3-0 deficit Sunday night to the Bellingham Bells in the second game of their best-of-three West Coast League playoff series, the Pippins offense roared to life with six runs in the third inning en route to a 6-3 victory to force a deciding Game 3.
Yakima Valley and Bellingham meet at 7:05 p.m. Monday in the deciding game.
The Pippins were put in a must-win situation after dropping Saturday night’s opener. The Bells scored in each of the first five innings and cruised to a 14-1 victory at Joe Martin Field in Bellingham.
Bellingham opened the scoring Sunday with three unearned runs in the top of the second inning, highlighted by Malakhi Knight's two-run single.
Alex Shanks got the rally started for the Pippins in the bottom of the third inning with a leadoff single. After Taylor Holder reached on an error, Connor Coballes singled to load the bases.
A single by Chaz Myers scored Shanks, and Sam Olsson was hit by a pitch to score Holder. After new pitcher Ryan Beitel recorded the first out, Michael Carpentier Jr. delivered a two-run single, and Blake Dickman followed with a run-scoring single.
Mason Marenco concluded the six-run inning with a run-scoring fielder’s choice.
Yakima Valley starter Seth Kuykendall managed to work into the sixth, when Bellingham loaded the bases with one out. He induced a popup to first base before Owen Wild came out of the bullpen to get the Pippins out of the jam.
Wild went the rest of the way, allowing four hits while striking out four. The righthander's long relief appearance means two of Yakima Valley's most effective bullpen arms, Landon Schirer and Case Matter, will be fresh for Game 3.
In the other divisional series, five-time WCL champion Corvallis eliminated Ridgefield with a 2-0 victory. They'll travel for Game 1 of the championship series before returning home to host the final two games of the best-of-three series, if necessary.
Simon, Beitel (3), Francis (6) and Saum. Kuykendall, Wild (6) and Carpentier Jr.
YV highlights: Connor Coballes 2-4, run; Willie Lajoie 2-4; Alex Shanks 2-4, run.