Nearly a year to the day after they saw their 2020 schedule canceled, the Yakima Valley Pippins will return to the Yakima County Stadium diamond.
The Pippins will host the Kamloops NorthPaws — one of three West Coast League newcomers — on Friday, June 4 in the opener of a three-game series to begin the 2021 season, the team announced Thursday afternoon.
Yakima Valley is slated for a 32-game home schedule with nine of the WCL’s other 14 teams visiting Yakima County Stadium. Five of the home contests will be against nonleague opponents.
“It’s been a frustrating year for everyone, everywhere,” Pippins general manager Jeff Garretson said in a release. “We’re looking forward to getting back on the diamond next summer and helping to build a sense of normalcy and community again.”
Yakima Valley’s 2020 season was canceled June 5 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the same day the Pippins originally was set to begin the campaign. The WCL had postponed its season on May 8 and Opening Day was tentatively moved to early July.
While the league did not take the field this past summer, it was busy off the field with the addition of three Canadian franchises, bringing the league to 15 teams.
The WCL announced on Sept. 15 the addition of Edmonton Riverhawks in Alberta, its most distant franchise. Edmonton followed the introduction of Kamloops and the Nanaimo NightOwls in British Columbia earlier in the summer.
Canada now is home to five WCL teams with the Kelowna Falcons and Victoria HarbourCats longtime members. Washington is home to seven clubs and the remaining three teams reside in Oregon.
2021 YAKIMA VALLEY PIPPINS SCHEDULE
4-6: vs. Kamloops, 8-10: at Bellingham, 11-13: vs. Ridgefield, 15-17: at Wenatchee, 19-21: vs. Corvallis, 22-24: at Ridgefield, 25-27: vs. Walla Walla, 29-30: Cascade Collegiate Showcase.
1: vs. NW Star, 2-4: at Bend, 5-7: at Walla Walla, 9-11: vs. Bellingham, 13-15: vs. Kelowna, 16-18: at Kamloops, 20-22: vs. Bend, 23-25: at Kelowna, 27-29: vs. Cowlitz, 30-31: vs. Highline.
3-5: at Corvallis, 6-8: at Port Angeles, 10-12: vs. Wenatchee.