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Just coming up short

LONGVIEW, Wash.- Yakima Valley jumped out to a 7-0 lead in game one Friday and held on for a 7-5 victory.

     The Pippins sent eight batters to the plate in the top of the second inning and scored four times on three hits. They opened the scoring with a two run double to left field. An RBI ground out to second base made it 3-0. Finally they got an RBI double down the right field line.

     Yakima Valley kept the bats going in the third bringing in two more runs with a two run double down the right field line.

     One more run came across in the fourth. A two out RBI single to right field gave the Pippins a seven spot.

     But Cowlitz didn't quit and got into the game in the fifth with a three run homer to right center by Austin Bell (R-JR Dallas Baptist). It was Bell's team leading fifth home run of the season.

     The Black Bears scored two more in the seventh. Dalton Mitchell (R-SR Alabama A&M) completed a double steal of home and second base with Ryan Kim (JR University of Portland) to make it 7-4. Blake Burton (JR Washington) then hit an RBI single to left center to get to within two.

     Cowlitz had a chance to tie the game in the eighth and ninth. They loaded the bases with one out in the eighth but a 7-5 double play ended the inning before the runner could score from third. In the ninth the tying runs were aboard but a strikeout and a fly out to center field ended the game.

     Starter Matt Gannon (JR Northwestern) took the loss dropping his record to 0-6. Gannon pitched three innings and gave up six runs on six hits with one walk and one hit batter. Joe Solomon (SO University of the Pacific) then came in and settled down the Pippins bats with his longest relief appearance of the season only giving up one run in four innings allowing three hits with four strikeouts.

     Cowlitz (6-10, 16-27) has lost three in a row while Yakima Valley (12-4, 23-20) has won ten of their last 12 league games to remain in first place in the North Division.

     Bell finished the night 3-for-4 with a walk and was a triple shy of the cycle. Kim stole three bases for the second time this season.

     Seth Rayburn (RHP R-SR Tennessee-Martin) gets the ball for game two as the Black Bears try to even up the series.

     Photo credit: 9 Inning Know It All