RIDGEFIELD — The Ridgefield Spudders were hoping to send out their old home field out with a victory.
“This is a quirky field, with the hill in the outfield and the ivy,” Ridgefield coach Nick Allen said. “Normally, they keep the hill mowed. But this year, they’ve let it grow because they are just going to tear down the field when the season is over. Teams come in here and get frustrated by ground-rule doubles into the ivy.”
Tumwater hit two balls into the ivy Tuesday, the latter of which tied the game in the top of the seventh.
The Thunderbirds would add an RBI single and two-run double as part of a four-run seventh that carried them to a 6-3 win over Ridgefield in the first round of the 2A district baseball tournament.
“We hung a curveball, and it got hit hard,” Allen said. “But the rest of the hits, they just got the bat on the ball and found holes. Sometimes, that’s how baseball goes.”
The loss drops Ridgefield in a loser-out game against Columbia River Wednesday scheduled in Longview.
The first ball Tumwater hit into the ivy for a ground-rule double came in the first inning and would give the Thunderbirds a brief 1-0 lead.
But the Spudders scored twice in the bottom of the first on a wild pitch and an RBI single by Jimmy Wallace.
After Tumwater tied the game on a bases-loaded walk in the third, Ridgefield took a 3-2 lead on a balk in the bottom of the fourth.
Starting pitcher Spencer Andersen pitched five solid innings to keep that narrow lead intact.
“Spencer pitched really well even though he didn’t have his best stuff today,” Allen said. “His breaking pitched and changeup were not that sharp. But he was able to get ahead in the count and control some at-bats.”
The Spudders took that 3-2 lead into the seventh, needing three outs to advance to the district semifinals.
But Tumwater’s Dylan Grotte led off the seventh with a single, took second on a wild pitch and advanced to third on a fly out to right.
Hunter Klingelhaffer, seeking redemption after striking out his previous two at-bats, laced a double into the ivy in left to tie the game.
Jakob Holbrook’s bloop single to left put Tumwater up 4-3, then Kaden Lewis slapped a double down the left-field line to make it 6-3.
“It’s frustrating because we played a clean game, but just didn’t get the breaks,” Allen said. “We just have to come out and play another clean game tomorrow.”
Tuesday’s loss brought a close to the Spudders’ longtime home field at View Ridge Middle School. Next year, the team will move to an all-weather field at the Ridgefield Outdoor Sports Complex located near the high school.
“This field has a lot of charm to it,” Allen said of the View Ridge park. “It’s right in the heart of town with Oz (former Ridgefield coach Art Osmundson) holding court in his chair beyond the center field fence. But the new field will allow us to work on things outside and get more games in early in the season. Change happens, but I think the future is bright.”
Allen hope that bright future starts Wednesday against the Chieftains.