Baseball is back in Springfield!

The Springfield Drifters (1-3,1-3) fall short after a battle against the Yakima Valley Pippins. (3-1,3-1)

By Tayten Torgrimson 
Following a 13-4 loss in the final of three games to the Yakima Valley Pippins the Springfield Drifters fell short against the Pippins losing five to two. The first of three games in the series against the Pippins went to 13 innings, head coach, Alan Embree said after the game that he “appreciated the fight” that the team showed. 
On Thursday former head coach Tommy Richards accepted an assistant coaching position at his alma mater, Washington State. That caused former pitching coach, Alan Embree to step in as head coach right before the team left for Yakima on Friday. 
The offense struggled in this game, scoring the first of two runs in the second inning after a bases-loaded balk call on Yakima Valley led to Andy Miller scoring for Springfield. The only other run came in the bottom of the 12th after a wild pitch allowed Kedren Kinzie to barely beat out the Yakima Valley catcher at home. 
The Drifters left 14 runners on base, a tale of two sides as Yakima Valley left 12 runners on base. Coach Embree said that he’d like to see the team cash in more on opportunities with runners in scoring positions. Stating he remembered three times when the team had runners in scoring position with less than two outs and how those opportunities needed to be cashed in. 
The Drifters defense played excellently allowing no runs till the top of the ninth inning when a passed ball by the catcher caused the tying run to score for the Pippins, making the score 1-1. 
Pitching was on full display for the Drifters as six pitchers were used in the game including usual catcher Jackson Upton, a senior that played the 2024 season at Yakima Valley College hitting .149 with 11 RBIs across 33 games. Upton did make the play of the night after a bunt popped up into the night sky and his catcher background shined as he tracked the ball down and made the diving catch then threw the Yakima Valley runner out at second from his knees. On the night, the Drifters threw 13 strikeouts with Aiden Gebhard leading the way with five. Gebhard is a sophomore at Lane Community College and hit .205 with 1 HR and 11 RBIs through 44 games this season for the Titans. 
Coach Embree had this to say on the willingness of out-of-position players playing out on the mound, “We’re kind of light on pitching and we had guys pitch that we probably wouldn’t have pitched on a normal day, but it’s the way it worked out. It’s the situation that we’re in and they banded together and stayed together as long as they could.” 
The one thing that remained true in this home opener loss is that the Drifters will fight. It’s something to look forward to for the rest of the season and gives a lot of hope to the fans who will make their way out to Hamlin Sports Complex this summer. 
The Drifters look to get back into the win column and break a three-game losing streak to the Yakima Valley Pippins on June 5 th at 6:35 p.m.