The Bend Elks exploded for eight runs in the fifth inning Thursday evening to give them a much-needed 11-4 win over the Yakima Valley Pippins at Vince Genna Stadium.
Bend (11-10 second half, 23-25 overall) jumped past the Pippins (9-9, 22-23) into third place in the West Coast League South Division and are 2½ games back of leader Cowlitz, which is just a game ahead of the first-half champion Corvallis Knights. If the Knights win the division, the team with the South’s second-best overall record will make the four-team playoffs. The Elks are 1½ games behind Cowlitz and a half-game behind the Pippins in the overall standings.
The Elks had eight hits, two walks, a hit batsman and sent 14 batters to the plate in the fifth. In the inning, Derek Chapman had a two-run double and a sacrifice fly, Matt Kroon had a two-run double, George Mendazona had two hits and two RBIs, and Bryce Rogan had a run-scoring single as the Elks took an 11-3 lead.
Mendazona, an Oregon State player from Redmond’s Ridgeview High, extended his hitting streak to six games, going 12-for-27 (.444) over that span.
Elks starter Kris Jackson (5-3) labored through six innings, allowing three runs (two earned) on eight hits and two walks while striking out three. Caleb Henry and Adam Kirk combined to allow a run on three hits in the final three innings.
After an off day Friday, the Elks travel to Gresham for a three-game series. The Elks were swept by the GreyWolves at home last week.