The expansion Yakima Valley Pippins clinched the East Division title last night with a 7-6 walk-off home win over Cowlitz before a crowd of 2,769 at the Yakima County Stadium. Yakima Valley (33-18) is the first WCL expansion team to win a division title. The Pippins finish the regular season at Wenatchee.
Yakima Valley is second in the league in attendance as the Pippins are averaging 1,372 fans per game. Not only are the Pippins the league’s first expansion division champion, they are the winningest expansion team in league history with 33 victories to date.
The team is led by left-handed hitting slugger Vince Fernandez of UC Riverside and pitchers Eli Morgan (future Gonzaga Bulldog), Andrew Woods of VMI and Kenny Rosenberg of Cal State Northridge. Fernandez is hitting .342 with 12 doubles, 7 homers and 43 RBI. Morgan is 8-0 with a 3.04 ERA; Woods is 5-3 with a 2.37 ERA and Rosenberg has made 21 appearances, registered 4 saves and posted a 1.58 ERA while striking out 41 over 34 innings pitched.
The WCL defending champion Corvallis Knights (33-17) clinched the South this past Tuesday with a 6-2 home win vs. Bend.
The Elks (29-21) and AppleSox (28-22) are vying for the final WCL playoff berth; the league’s first ever wild card spot. Both teams have 4 games remaining with Wenatchee at Kelowna and Bend at Corvallis tonight; and both teams finishing at home. Wenatchee hosts Yakima Valley while the Elks host the Klamath Falls Gems. Bend owns the tie-breaker as they beat the AppleSox two out of three games during the regular season.
The WCL first-round best-of-three playoffs start on Tuesday, August 12. First-round pairings will be announced over the weekend.