Yakima Bears Clinch Playoff Berth

Yakima Bears Clinch Playoff Berth

The Yakima Bears defeated the Tri-City Dust Devils 4-3 Sunday night to clinch their first postseason berth since 2000. The red-hot Mike Freeman led the offense with a 4-for-4 night and the bullpen was dominant as ever to secure the playoff-clinching victory.

Bears starter Brad Wilson was solid in five innings of work, allowing three runs on six hits while striking out five.  The Dust Devils and Bears were locked in a 3-3 tie when both Wilson and Tri-City starter Josh Hungerman left the game. 

As usual, in a battle of the bullpens, Yakima had the clear advantage.  The Bears received four more shutout innings from their relief corps. Corey Davisson and Jake Hale combined to finish the game, allowing just one hit while striking out nine in four innings.

Davisson pitched two hitless frames, striking out three and walking zero.  Hale struck out the side in both the eighth and ninth innings, allowing one hit to earn his fourth save.  He reduced his season ERA to a microscopic 0.25.

Yakima scored the go-ahead run in the top of the seventh inning on a Mike Freeman RBI single, which followed a Michael Weber leadoff hit and a Westley Moss sacrifice bunt. It was a 4-for-4 night for the Bears' second baseman and leadoff hitter, who extended his hit streak to 10 games with a double, the game-winning RBI, and two runs scored.  Freeman is batting .421 during the hitting streak, and his .348 batting average would be two points behind the Northwest League leader had the late-signing Freeman enough at-bats to qualify.

The Bears stole six bases as a team and were not caught. They now have 140 stolen bases as a team, with no other Northwest League squad boasting more than 77.

The victory, coupled with the Boise Hawks' loss in Spokane, officially sews up a playoff spot for the Bears for the first time in a decade. Yakima has seven more games in the regular season before they host game one of the NWL East division playoffs September 6th against the Spokane Indians.  One more regular season win will guarantee their first winning season since 2003.

Bear Claws

  • Kawika Emsley-Pai entered the game defensively in the 6th and threw out the potential tying run trying to steal in the 7th.  He has gunned down 17-of-32 would-be basestealers this year (53%)
  • Shortstop Zach Walters committed his 21st error of the season in the 7th inning
  • The Bears won despite going just 2-for-13 with runners in scoring position

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