After Thursday night’s 5-4 victory in the series and home finale against Wenatchee, Yakima Valley sat in fifth place of the West Coast League’s South Division.
In years past, Pippins players might be packing up, and planning their returns to college campuses.
This isn’t years past.
With new additions to the league, the WCL has expanded its postseason and given hope to more teams, including Yakima Valley, the chance to play beyond the regular season.
The Pippins are one game back of Bend for the fourth and final playoff spot in the South.
Four teams also qualify for the North.
The Divisional Series will be the best-of-three while the Division Championship and WCL Championship will be one game.
The Pippins scored three runs in the fifth inning and two more in the sixth, then withstood Wenatchee’s four-run eighth and held on for the victory.
Owen Cobb had three hits including a double and Spencer Shipman knocked in a pair of runs for the Pippins.
Yakima Valley missed a chance to tie the Elks on Wednesday when Wenatchee used a four-run seventh inning to take control of what was a tied ballgame and beat the Pipps 8-3.
Bend fell at first-place Corvallis 5-4.
The five-time defending champion Knights, who also topped the first-half standings, lead Portland — a 6-4 winner at Cowlitz on Wednesday night — by three games and the Pippins by 31/2 in the second-half standings.
Barring a collapse, Corvallis will sweep both halves of the season. That leaves the South’s remaining playoff positions to be decided by the overall standings, where the Pippins are fifth.
Former Ellensburg star Xander Orejudos helped the AppleSox’s cause Wednesday with a 2-for-5 effort at the plate and the go-ahead RBI.
Kyle Williamson has two hits for Yakima Valley, including his first home run of the season — a solo shot in the seventh. Gabe Villafor also had two hits, including a double for the Pippins.
Starting pitcher Chris Grothues lasted six innings, giving up four runs on six hits and four walks.
The loss follows Tuesday’s 12-inning, 41/2-hour 11-10 victory for the Pippins. The teams combined for 29 hits — including Villafor’s RBI single to score Jaxon Sorenson with the game-winning run.
Sorenson began the inning with a walk.
Sorenson was 3-for-3 with a double and three RBI for Yakima Valley.