YAKIMA – The Wenatchee AppleSox (12-26, 2-9 Second Half), struggled to get their bats going against the Yakima Valley Pippins (23-15, 8-3), in a 2-1 loss to the West Coast League’s leading pitching staff at County Stadium, Saturday.
Again, the AppleSox received a solid pitching performance from their staff. Ross Clevenger (1-3) opened the night, throwing five innings of two-run baseball. The Pippins did reach him for a run in the opening inning on a Jace Van De Brake RBI single.
The AppleSox struggled to figure out Tanner Simpson (1-1), who faced the minimum number of batters through five innings. He had given up two hits, but erased both runners on a pick off and a runner caught stealing.
Clevenger allowed a second run in the fifth inning, when the Pippins strung together three hits, including an RBI single for Christian Koss. It would end up being the game-winning RBI for Yakima Valley.
After Simpson generated six innings of shutout baseball on just two AppleSox hits, the bullpen for the Pippins took over in an up-and-down stint. In the seventh, Matthew Fish retired the Sox in order, but in the eighth, he walked two men with one out, giving way to Friday night’s winning pitcher Ryan Garcia.
Garcia got a second out, but an error at shortstop allowed Evan Douglas to score from second on the play, bringing home an unearned run to cut the deficit to 2-1.
The Pippins’ right-hander got out of the eighth with just the one run scoring, and Connor Zwetsch shut down the Sox in the ninth after allowing a tying run into scoring position on a batter hit by pitch and wild pitch. Zwetsch struck out the game’s final two batters to pick up his third save.
The AppleSox bullpen was also impressive, with All-Star arm Matt Young tossing a scoreless 1-2-3 inning on nine pitches. Nick Hoefling also threw a scoreless two innings, striking out three batters, while walking two.
Wenatchee hasn’t scored an earned run against Yakima Valley since the ninth inning of June 4, in the season-opening series against the Pippins; a span of 28 1/3 innings.