When the Yakima Valley Pippins return to the field, they’ll have several players who were set to play for them last summer before the pandemic claimed the season when it was originally scheduled to begin.
Two Yakima Valley College players — middle infielder Connor Coballes and catcher Josh Davis — will play the 2021 summer for the Pippins after missing out on the chance to play for Yaks coach Kyle Krustangel, who was set for his first season leading the West Coast League team.
The Yaks played just 12 games before the NWAC canceled its own season. Players did not accrue a year of eligibility with the cancellation.
“I’m excited to bring back Josh and Connor again this summer after they were supposed to play for the Pippins in 2020,” Krustangel said in a release from the team. “Both are great leaders and will be guys to build the summer culture around.”
Former Riverside Christian standout Reagan Haas, who saw limited action as a freshman at Gonzaga last spring, also was brought back for the coming summer.
Seth Kuykendall, a right-handed pitcher for Yakima in 2018 and 2019, and Gonzaga righty Owen Wild also will play for the Pippins after missing out this year.
Krustangel will bring in two more of his YVC players in 2021 in right-handed pitchers Tyler Frieders and Dann Blanchard.
Last week the WCL announced the schedule for the 2021 season, and the Pippins will host the Kamloops NorthPaws — one of three new West Coast League teams — on Friday, June 4 in the opener of a three-game series to begin the campaign.
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.