RIDGEFIELD — The Corvallis Knights are the four-time defending West Coast League champions and boast this season’s best record. They’re the last team the Ridgefield Raptors want to be facing in the thick of a playoff hunt.
The Knights lit up the scoreboard early and held on late to beat Ridgefield 7-2 on Saturday at the Ridgefield Outdoor Recreation Complex.
However, Portland also lost to remained tied Ridgefield (24-20) with the second-best overall record, the determining factor for securing the second playoff spot now that Corvallis appears primed to clinch the top spot in the second half of the South Division.
Bend (23-21) lingers a game back and Cowlitz (22-22) is two back.
“I don’t know if we’re nervous, but you can see we’re getting a little tight,” said Raptors shortstop Kody Darcy, whose home run was the Raptors’ lone extra-base hit. “We need to get back to playing how we were: a little looser.”
Before the Raptors can think playoffs, though, they need to figure out how to conquer Corvallis. The Knights have won all 11 meetings between the two teams since the Raptors’ inaugural 2019 season. On Saturday, the Raptors outhit the Knights 8-7, but couldn’t pick up the timely RBI. Ridgefield stranded 12 runners.
Corvallis, meanwhile, took advantage of nine walks issued by Raptors pitchers.
The Raptors conclude a three-game series with Corvallis on Sunday in their home finale. The first pitch is scheduled for 1:05 p.m. Ridgefield’s three-game trip to Walla Walla will finish out the regular season.
“Nothing to lose tomorrow,” Darcy said. “Nobody is expecting us to beat them after we’ve lost 11 in a row.”
Setting the tone — Oregon State University product Travis Bazzana smashed the first pitch of the game into the right-center field gap to set the stage for what was to come for the Knights, who scored two runs on four hits in the opening frame.
So close — With bases loaded and two outs in the first inning, former Camas star Grant Heiser worked a nine-pitch at-bat — including two potential home-run balls that dove just right of the foul pole — before grounding out.
Take your base — Raptors starting pitcher Parker Goin — of Pierce College — allowed three walks and hit a batter in a three-run Knights’ third inning, leading to his removal from the game. He was replaced by Loyola Marymount’s Jacob Fried, who forced a groundout on his first batter to limit the damage.
Kaden Segel — The Linn-Benton College product went 1 for 4 with a two-run single in the third inning to extend the Knights’ lead to 4-0.
Jacob Fried — The Loyola Marymount pitcher came in for the Raptors and stopped the bleeding in the third before going on to throw 2.1 innings of shutout ball, striking out four.
Kody Darcy — The shortstop out of Nicholls State took advantage of the prevailing southerly wind to launch his seventh home run of the season for the Raptors in the fourth inning. His seven home runs are second to only teammate Will Chambers, who leads the West Coast League with eight. The Raptors have four of the top five home run hitters in the WCL, as John Peck and Coby Morales each have six. “This field definitely helps,” Darcy said. “But we have a lot of big dudes with some serious pop.”
4 — Games left in the regular season.
11 — Consecutive victories for the Knights against the Raptors, who have yet to defeat the four-time defending WCL champs since joining the league in 2019. During that run the Raptors have been outscored 72-25.
100 — Stolen bases on the year for the Knights, who stole four on Saturday. That total leads the league. Corvallis was also thrown out attempting to steal twice.
CORVALLIS 7, RIDGEFIELD 2
Corvallis 203 000 020—7 7 2
Ridgefield 001 100 000—2 8 0
Pitching – Ethan Ross 3 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 3 K, 3 BB; Colton Meyer 2 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 3 K, 1 BB; Jake Vargas 2 IP, W, 3 H, 0 ER, 5 K; Sean Wiese 1 IP, 0 ER, 3 K; Nathaniel Mendoza 1 IP, BB, 0 ER. Highlights – Travis Bazzana 2-2, 2 SB, 2B, 3 BB, RBI, Nick Vogt 1-4, 3B, 2 RBI; Briley Knight 1-3, RBI, 2 BB; Nate Nankil 1-5; Spencer Scott 1-4, BB, R; Riley Way 0-3, BB, R; Kaden Segel 1-4, 2 RBI, Sebastian Garcia 0-2, BB, R.
Pitching – Parker Goin 2.2 IP, 5 H, 5 ER, 2 K, 6 BB, L; Jacob Fried 2.1 IP, 0 ER, 4 K, 1 BB; Jaykob Acosta 3 IP, 2 ER, 4 K, 2 BB; Thomas Blahous 1 IP, 0 ER, 2 K. Highlights – Wade Meckler 1-3, 2 BB, R; Brooks Dyer 1-4; Caden Connor 1-5, SB, RBI; Isaac Lovings 2-3, BB; Will Chambers 1-4, BB; Kody Darcy 1-4, HR; Mikey Kane 1-3, BB,