Kennel, Drifters Rally Past Pippins in Scorefest

By Ryan Oppenheimer

SPRINGFIELD, Ore. — The Springfield Drifters won the second chapter of their home-opening series against the Yakima Valley Pippins in a 13-11 shootout Wednesday night, evening the series at one victory apiece.

It was a starkly different game from the previous night’s 13-inning pitchers’ duel. The Drifters not only got it done in regulation this time around, but they did it with electric offense.

Drifters skipper Alan Embree was pleased with his first home win as head coach, but he still called it an “ugly game.”

“I mean, I’d rather have a pitcher’s duel, but I thnk our offense picked it up tonight and did some things really well,” Drifters skipper Alan Embree said.

Indeed it did. The Drifters were held scoreless the first two innings, but once Kedren Kinzie hit an RBI double in the third inning, the offense never let up.

In the fourth, Jack Peper legged out a single that brought home two more thanks to an inaccurate throw. Then, an action-packed fifth inning saw the Drifters tie the Pippins at 7 by way of a long single from Garrett Cooper, a 2 RBI fielder’s choice from Dane Woodcook, and a tying single from Ely Kennel.

The boys in blue broke the game wide open with a five-run sixth, batting around the order to take a 12-7 lead. The first run came on a bases-loaded hit-by-pitch of Cooper. Woodcook delivered with a two-run double before Kennel tacked on two more with his single.

Kennel’s timely two hits and three RBI earned him Player of the Game honors. The current Washington State Cougar and former Oregon State Beaver started in right field Wednesday.

“Just try to see the ball better, be on time and try to hit it hard,” Kennel said when asked about his approach to rebounding after striking out early in the game.

The pitching wasn’t exactly shutdown for either team — unsurprising considering how many arms were used in the prior night’s marathon — but the Springfield staff did just enough to hold on. Tyler Manyo tossed five scoreless outs over the fourth and fifth innings and was credited with the win. Kaden Starr put up a zero in the ninth, striking out three to record the save.

The win brings the Drifters to 2-3, while the Pippins fall to 3-2. Springfield has played Yakima Valley in all five games to begin the season, and they will meet for their final matchup of the summer tomorrow at Hamin Field at 6:35 p.m.