Wednesday, September 22, 2021
Sept. 22, 2021

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Walk-off homer gives Raptors sweep of Walla Walla

Ridgefield gets crucial win as playoff push heats up

By , Columbian Sports Editor
Published:

RIDGEFIELD – In the midst of a playoff push, the Ridgefield Raptors are catching fire at the right time.

John Peck’s walk-off home run Sunday to give Ridgefield an 8-7 victory over the Walla Walla Sweets in 11 innings. The roller-coaster win at Ridgefield Outdoor Recreation Complex gave the Raptors (23-16, 10-5 second half) a series sweep and a three-game win streak.

“I don’t think there’s a team hotter right now,” said Will Chambers, who slugged a two-run homer for Ridgefield. “I would be very afraid to face this lineup.”

Raptors leadoff hitter Caden Connor continued his torrid streak, going 6 for 6. That, coupled with Peck’s extra-inning heroics can really boost a team, Chambers said.

“That’s huge, especially with the playoff push,” said Chambers. “For these guys to get hot and Caden doing what he’s doing, it makes my job so much easier. I just have to tag one here or there. He’s always on base. It’s so easy to hit behind that guy.”

The West Coast League’s postseason qualification is complex. Corvallis has clinched a berth as first-half champion of the South Division. In the second half, the Knights also have a three-game lead over Ridgefield and a three game lead on Cowlitz with nine games left.

If Corvallis also wins the second half, the division’s second postseason berth goes to the team with next best season-long record. Entering Sunday, Ridgefield found itself tied with the Portland Pickles in that race.

Three moments

All’s well with this end – Prior to the 11th inning, Peck had a tough outing. He was hit by pitches twice and struck out twice. But the shortstop jumped on the first pitch to lead off the 11th, hitting a high fly to right that carried over the fence for his sixth home run of the season.

Fit to be tied – Patrick Stark’s first home run of the summer tied the game in the bottom of the fourth. The infielder from Loyola Marymount hit a deep fly that carried over the left field fence, a two-run shot that pulled the Raptors even at 4-4.

When you’re hot – Caden Connor just needed a triple to hit for the cycle, but he gladly took an RBI single that tied the game 7-7 in the eighth. Connor went 6 for 6 with three RBI, giving him a league-high 42 this season.

Three players

Caden Connor – Nobody’s bat was better in the three-game series than the Raptors’ leadoff hitter. Sunday, he led off the bottom of the first with a home run, one day after hitting his first of the summer. Connor went 12 for 16 in the series, raising his batting average to .322.

Will Chambers – The Raptors slugger launched a 421-foot home run in the fifth inning, a two-run shot to give Ridgefield a 6-4 lead. It was his league-leading eighth of the season and was punctuated by an emphatic bat flip.

Ben Larson – The Raptors reliever threw three scoreless innings, keeping the Sweets off the board through the 11th inning.

Three numbers

3-6 – Ridgefield’s record in one-run games this season.

5 – Raptors players in the top 10 in slugging percentage leaguewide, led by Will Chambers at .582.

9-4 – Ridgefield’s series record this season.

RIDGEFIELD 8, WALLA WALLA 7, 11 innings

Walla Walla 310 000 120 00—7 9 0

Ridgefield 110 220 010 01—8 13 3

Walla Walla

Pitching – Nick Irwin 4 IP, 7 H, 4 ER, 0 K, 2 BB; Turner Edwards 0 IP, 1 H, 2 ER, 0 K, 0 BB; Caden Kaelber 4 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 4 K, 1 BB; Eric Romo 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 2 K, 1 BB; Jacob Dahlstrom 1 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 0 K, 0 BB. Highlights – Paul Myro 2-6, R, SB; Parker Price 1-4, 2 R, 2B; Eli Paton 1-5, R; Quentin Ayers 3-5, R, 2 RBI; Matthew Clark 1-5, R, RBI, 3B; Jack Sheward 1-4, RBI.

Ridgefield

Pitching – Nate Weeldreyer 4 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 0 ER, 5 K, 3 BB; Ryan Pitts 2 IP, 0 H, 1 ER, 3 K, 1 BB; Andrew Troppmann 2 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 0 K, 1 BB; Ben Larson 3 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 5 K, 1 BB, W. Highlights – Caden Connor 6-6, R, 3 RBI, HR, 2B; John Peck 1-4, 2 R, RBI, HR; Will Chambers 1-3, R, 2 RBI, HR; Kody Darcy 1-5; Brady Kasper 1-5, R; Partick Stark 2-4, 3 R, 2 RBI, HR; Micah McDowell 1-2.

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