Pippins Overcome Early Deficit to Drown Mussels

On a controversial play at the plate in the fifth inning Tuesday, Yakima catcher Tyler Sandoval appears to deliberately trip up Victoria base runner Jake Garella (28) while tagging him on the backside for the out and keeping the score at the time tied 6-6 (Photo: Christian J. Stewart)

Story and Photos by Christian J. Stewart

July 11, 2017, Victoria, BC – The Yakima Valley Pippins scored eleven unanswered runs to overcome an early 6-1 deficit and defeat the Victoria Mussels (aka Victoria HarbourCats) 12-6 Tuesday evening in West Coast League action in front of 1,406 fans at Royal Athletic Park in Victoria.

Victoria batter Bryce Bonner and Yakima catcher Tyler Sandoval watch Bonner’s first inning three-run home run sail over the left field fence (Photo: Christian J. Stewart)

The Mussels – wearing throwback jerseys to honor the 1978-1980 Mussels of the Northwest League – flexed their muscles early in this one, getting three-run home runs from both Andrew Shaps and Bryce Bonner in the first inning to jump into a 6-1 lead off Yakima and their starting pitcher Kade Woods.

Victoria shortstop Harry Shipley puts the tag on Yakima’s Tyler Bosetti (1) on this stolen base attempt Tuesday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart)

The Mussels would continue to threaten, leaving the bases loaded in the second and runners on base in both the third and fourth, but Woods would escape from all of those innings without damage before being replaced in the fifth – after throwing an incredible 101 pitches – by reliever William Adair.

Meanwhile, the Yakima offence, who got to Mussels starter Taylor Prokopis for a run in the first, nickel-and-dimed their way back into the game, scoring a pair of runs in the second, a run in the third and then two more in the fifth, to tie the game 6-6 and end Prokopis’s night.

Yakima’s Tora Atsuka heads to third for a lead-off triple in the Pippins half of the fifth inning Tuesday.
Otsuka would be one of six Pippin to enjoy a multi-hit night (Photo: Christian J. Stewart)

The Pippins continued to beat up on Mussels pitching, scoring a run off Jack Tagget in the sixth, two more off Matt Kent in the seventh, one in the eighth off Radd Thomas – a mammoth home run off the top of the scoreboard by Brad Beesley – and two more off Thomas in the ninth, to put the game out of reach.

Victoria’s Harry Shipley had something to smile about Tuesday as he had two hits, including a double, two walks, a run scored and a stolen base in the losing effort to the Pippins (Photo: Christian J. Stewart)

The Pippins 15-hit attack was led by Nick Plaia who had a three-hit night with three runs scored and Tyler Bosetti, with two hits and three RBIs. Four other players also had two-hit evenings, while Beesley and Lucas Denney contributed two RBIs each.

The Mussels 11-hit effort was led by Shaps who finished with three-hits including his home run, while Noah Prewett and Harry Shipley had two hits each in the losing effort.

Victoria’s Andrew Shaps would have a good day at the plate with a double and three-run homer to pace the Mussels 11-hit effort (Photo: Christian J. Stewart)

On the mound, Yakima’s Adair takes the win in relief, skunking the Mussels on just three hits in his three innings of work. Pete Minella closed out the final six outs in the 12-6 win. Tagget takes the loss for the Mussels, his first of the season.

The win moves the Pippins second-half record to 2-2 (15-16), while the Mussels, with their third loss in the last four games, drop to 5-3 (19-16) and sit in a virtual tie with Wenatchee (3-1) for first in the North, although the AppleSox have four games in hand.

Yakima reliever William Adair would blank the HarbourCats for three innings Tuesday to pick up the win in relief (Photo: Christian J. Stewart)

The teams play game two of their series on Wednesday with the HarbourCats Claire Eccles making her first official West Coast League start. The Pippins will counter with John Fuqua. Game time is 6:35 pm.

Cat Scratches: Both DJ Porter and Harrison Brag left Tuesday’s game with leg injuries and will miss the remainder of the Yakima series. The HarbourCats Nick Moroney, who injured his leg over the weekend, has been sent home to recover. RHP Liam Steigerwald has gone home for assessment of an arm injury, but is probable to return to the team before the year is out. The HarbourCats welcomed RHPs Wyatt Boone (University of Seattle) and James Bradwell (UBC) to the club Tuesday. IF Nick Bellafronto who left the team over the weekend, will continue the summer with the Port Angeles Lefties.

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