RIDGEFIELD – The first playoff game in the short history of the Ridgefield Raptors didn’t quite go as planned.
Kiko Romero’s grand slam was part of a seven-run third inning the propelled the Corvallis Knights to a 13-6 win in the first game of the best-of-three West Coast League South Division playoff. Game 2 is Sunday night in Corvallis.
“That was a dagger,” Raptors shortstop Tanner Jacques said of the third. “But we fought back hard. We didn’t roll over. We just showed fight, which is good especially toward the end of the year.”
It’s been that way all summer for the Raptors, particularly with the way they clinched a playoff spot with an extra-inning win over Walla Walla on Thursday night.
Jacques, a Union High graduate who plays for Linfield, had a two-run inside-the-park home run in the win over Walla Walla.
“I hit it to right field and it just dropped on the line,” Jacques said. “The (right fielder) couldn’t track it down and I guess he ran into the fence so hard that his glove went to the other side of his fence. Somebody said he jumped over the fence to get his glove, but the ball was still in play. He must have thought the ball was foul, so I got an inside-the-parker.”
The Raptors needed to win on Thursday, but they also needed the Portland Pickles to lose and the Bend Elks to win on Thursday. Jacques said the team began to hear that things were going their way Thursday.
“We started hearing rumors, a lot from the bullpen because those guys were sneaking some stat updates,” he said. “So we sort of knew what was going on, so we were just trying to keep it going.”
Jacques was at the plate when the Raptors took a 4-2 lead in the 10th inning on consecutive wild pitches. After winning the game, Jacques said the team knew Portland had lost. They just needed Bend to finish off a win over Corvallis.
“The best part about that was after we won, Josh (Worden), our broadcaster, was in the box was fist-pumping,” Jacques said. “That’s when we knew we’re going to the playoffs.”
The Raptors are facing elimination once again after Saturday’s loss. Jacques hopes Ridgefield can find that magic again on Sunday night.
“It’s been great,” Jacques said of the season with the Raptors. “I like it a lot. I like the coaches. For me, it’s local, so I know a lot of the people who come to the games. It’s been a great experience.”
Kiko Romero’s grand slam in the third inning put Corvallis up 6-0. The Knights had the first seven batters reach base in the inning.
Doyle Kane hit a three-run home run in the bottom of the fourth gave the Raptors life, cutting their deficit to 9-4.
Will Chambers nearly hit a three-run home run in the eighth which would have cut the Corvallis lead to 10-8. Instead, it went off the wall for an RBI double.
Kiko Romero – The Knights first baseman went 3 for 5 with a triple, grand slam and five RBI.
Riley Way – The Knights shortstop went 4 for 5 with a stolen base and three runs scored.
Doyle Kane – The Ridgefield left field went 2 for 4 with a triple and a three-run home run.
13 – The number of consecutive times the Raptors have lost to the Knights. Corvallis went 6-0 against Ridgefield in 2019 and 6-0 this season before Saturday’s win.
2 – The number of sets of brothers in Saturday’s game. Doyle Kane and Mikey Kane started for the Raptors. Brock Gillis was the starting pitcher for Ridgefield, while Brett Gillis pitched the final two innings for Corvallis.
5 – The number of Clark County players who appeared in Saturday’s games for the Raptors. Along with Jacques, there was catcher Grant Heiser (Camas HS), third basemen Brooks Dyer (Hockinson), center fielder Quadrese Teague (Hudson’s Bay) and pitcher Josiah Nickel (Prairie).
CORVALLIS 13, RIDGEFIELD 6
Corvallis 007 210 012—13 17 2
Ridgefield 001 301 100—6 9 2
Pitching — Drew Dowd 7 IP, 9 H, 6 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 6 K, win; Brent Gillis 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K. Highlights — Travis Bazzana 1-5, 2 runs, 2 SB; Briley Knight 2-5, run, 4 RBI; Nick Vogt 3-6, 2 runs, 2B, 2 RBI; Kiko Romero 3-5, 2 runs, 3B, HR, 5 RBI; Tanner Smith 1-3, run; Kyler Stancato 1-4, RBI; Spencer Scott 2-5, 2 runs, RBI; Riley Way 4-5, 3 runs, SB.
Pitching — Brock Gillis 2 IP, 8 H, 8 R, 7 ER, 2 BB, 3 K, loss; Patrick Goin 5 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 1 K; Thomas Blahous 1.1 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 1 K; Josiah Nickel 0.2 IP, 1 H, 2 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K.
Highlights — Tanner Jacques 2-5, run; Mikey Kane 2-5; Isaac Lovings 1-4; Will Chambers 2-4, 2B, RBI; Grant Heiser 0-4, run; Brady Kasper 0-2, run; Doyle Kane 2-4, 2 runs, 3B, HR, 3 RBI; Quadrese Teague 0-3, run.