RIDGEFIELD — The Ridgefield baseball team was looking for a spark with the bats Tuesday, and the Spudders got it from the bottom of the lineup.
Camden Ryder’s two-run double in the bottom of the sixth keyed a three-run inning that pushed the Spudders past Columbia River 3-1 in a key 2A Greater St. Helens League game.
“We’ve been waiting for that clutch hit all year,” Ridgefield coach Nick Allen said. “It feels like the guys have been trying to do too much. They just need to relax, let the game come to them. And sometimes you just need the ball to bounce your way.”
After being shut out by Columbia River’s Nick Alder through five innings, the Spudders got their rally started with a leadoff double by Clay Madsen. Bryce Fry, trying to lay down a sacrifice, got hit by a pitch before Tyler Lehnertz got a sacrifice down to put runners on second and third.
Then Ryder turned on a fastball and hit a chopper that bounced over the third-base bag for a two-run double.
“(Alder) has been hitting the strike zone with the first pitch all night,” Ryder said. “I was looking for a fastball somewhere over the plate. Got it, went for it, and it ended up going well.”
Three batters later, Spencer Andersen added an RBI single to make it 3-1.
“That at-bat by Spencer, that was a senior at-bat,” Allen said. “He got down 0-2, worked the count, then hit a laser.”
Josh Mansur did the job on the mound for Ridgefield, holding Columbia River to a run on six hits while striking out 10.
“Josh had great composure on the mound, not letting anything get to him,” Ryder said. “He really kept us in the game. There were guys on third base multiple times, and I think his damage control was really clutch tonight.”
In the fourth inning, River got the game’s first run when after a hit and an error put runners on first and third, Andrew Wisch beat out an infield chopper to plate River’s first run.
Mansur helped make sure it was the Chieftains’ only run by a bunt attempt and starting a double play.
Coming off a 2-1 loss last Friday to Hockinson, the Spudders were at risk of falling two games behind River in the competitive 2A GSHL.
Instead, the Spudders are tied for first with R.A. Long at 4-1, with River a half-game back at 3-1.
Allen said Ridgefield learned the hard way last Friday that they need to come ready to play in every league game.
Ryder added Tuesday’s comeback could help springboard the Spudders forward.
“Sometimes you’ve got to win close games,” he said. “Sometimes when there is only one run or two runs. You’ve got to be able to compete for all seven innings. You’ve got to play all the way through, and that’s what we did tonight.”