The Goldendale Sentinel - Headlines & History since 1879

By Jaryd Cline
Sports Editor 

Denney remains hot as WCL season nears end


August 2, 2017

Andrew Christiansen file photo

SWEET SWING: The Goldendale High School senior Lucas Denney takes a cut during a 2013 regular season game. Denney and the Yakima Valley Pippins have just five regular season games left.

Yakima Valley first baseman Lucas Denney continued to produce at the plate, leading the Pippins to a three-game sweep of the Port Angeles Lefties while bringing his batting average up to .350.

The Pippins, winners of four of their last six games and six of the last 10, remain at second place in the West Coast League's South Division at 25-23 as of Tuesday.

Denney, a 2013 Goldendale High School graduate and fresh off playing in the West Coast League's All-Star Game on July 18 and competing in the league's home run derby on the 17, saw his average continue to rise while slugging percentage remained off the charts.

Although the WCL's website doesn't include slugging percentage on the statistics page, a quick calculation revealed Denney is slugging .622 to go along with his .350 average, 15 doubles and 8 home runs in 41 games and 143 at bats. In retrospect, only three Major League Baseball players slugged over .630 in their careers (Babe Ruth, Ted Williams and Lou Gehrig) and all batted left handed like Denney.

On July 25 in Bend, Denney, batting cleanup and playing designated hitter, batted 3 for 5 with four RBIs while also scoring a run as the Pippins slugged 16 hits in an 8-5 win over the Elks.

The Elks got the Pippins back the next night, winning 9-7 after scoring five runs in the bottom of the seventh, but Denney again had an impressive night at the plate. He ripped two of the team's eight hits in the 2-for-5 performance, belting his eighth homer of the summer while adding two RBIs and another run.

The Pippins dropped the series finale 11-4 to the Elks last Thursday. Denney batted 2 for 5 again with a double, raising his average to .351.

Last Saturday, Denney and the Pippins slugged their way to a sweep over Port Angeles while slugging 27 runs in three games against the Lefties.

They set the tone by scoring 10 runs in the first three innings in the series opener on Saturday. Back at first base, Denney hit 1 for 3 with a double and an RBI while also drawing a walk and scoring twice.

On Sunday, the Pippins pitching shut out the Lefties in an 8-0 decision, and Denney again was a big part of the offense. He finished 1 for 3 again while driving in two runs, scoring a run, drawing two walks and also stealing his second base of the year.

He continued his strong hitting as the Pippins closed out the Lefties 7-5 on Monday. He singled in the 1-for-3 performance and again showed a good eye after drawing two free passes while also touching home once.


Lucas Denney

As of Tuesday morning, Denney's .350 average is fifth-best in the league and also ranks in the top of a handful of other categories. His 15 doubles ranks second, his eight home runs ties him for fourth, his 34 RBIs is eighth and his 32 runs ranks just outside the top 10 in the 11-team WCL.

Denney is currently riding a six-game hitting streak, with six games left in the WCL regular season.

The Pippins opened a three-game series on the road against the Cowlitz Black Bears on Tuesday evening, but results weren't available at press time. Yakima Valley remains on the road for three more games against the Corvallis Knights from Aug. 4-6.

The Pippins remain five games back of the Knights (30-18 as of Tuesday morning) for second place in the WCL's South Division.


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