RIDGEFIELD – Kody Darcy hadn’t stepped in the batter’s box in four days.
When he got a chance on Thursday, he didn’t hesitate.
And he didn’t miss either.
Darcy hit a three-run, pinch-hit home run on the first pitch he saw in the 10th inning, giving the Raptors an 8-5 win over the Bellingham Bells at Ridgefield Outdoor Recreation Complex.
Darcy’s two-out blast well over the left field fence set off a wild celebration at home plate, from which Darcy emerged drenched in water.
“It’s just being aggressive,” Darcy said. “It’s getting a fastball and trying to do damage, not being too passive.”
Darcy hadn’t played since June 27 against Portland, but had steadily raised his average from .194 to .230. He also shared the team lead with four home runs, making him a prime option as a pinch hitter.
“I knew I was going in if we got into that situation,” Darcy said. “I was in the dugout trying to time it up.”
The win kept Ridgefield two games behind South Division leader Corvallis with three games left in the first half of the West Coast League season. The Raptors face Corvallis in those three games and can claim the first-half title with a sweep.
Ridgefield (13-8) has now won two straight after snapping a three-game losing streak.
“This is a big momentum swing, especially going into the series against Corvallis” Darcy said. “Hopefully this propels us to what we need to do.”
Gritty at the bat – Caden Connor had one of the toughest at-bats Thursday. With the bases loaded, he ran out an infield single as the Raptors tied the game 5-5 in the bottom of the seventh. He fouled of two two-strike pitches before collecting his 25th RBI, which leads the WCL.
The little things – Ridgefield scored twice in the bottom of the third to take a 4-3 lead. Reece Hernandez’s perfect sacrifice bunt moved runners to second and third, making the rally possible. Micah McDowell would score on a groundout, followed by Tafton Hensley on a wild pitch.
Remember me? – Grayson Sterling played for the Raptors in 2019, when his 28 RBI were third most on the team. Now with Bellingham, the Gonzaga outfielder tied the game at 2-2 with a long two-run homer in the top of the second.
Coby Morales – The first baseman from Cypress College is one of the Raptors hottest hitters, if not the entire league. He blasted a two-run homer in the first inning for his league-leading 35th hit. It came one night after he hit three doubles, become the first Ridgefield player to do so.
Andrew Troppmann – The Raptors reliever flirted with trouble, but kept the Bells off the board in the sixth and seventh innings. The sidearmer from Clark College stranded five runners in those two innings, both of which he ended with strikeouts.
Ryan Pitts – For Skyview grad was crucial in keeping Bellingham under wraps late, throwing two-and-two-thirds innings of hitless relief. In the eighth, he struck out Bells cleanup hitter Cole Hinkelman with two outs and a runner on second. He had two strikeouts in both the ninth and 10th innings.
5 – Series won by Ridgefield this season after taking the three-game set 3-2. The Raptors have played seven three-game series.
2 – Walks allowed by Ridgefield pitchers, one day after allowing a season-high 15.
33 – Batters struck out by Ridgefield pitchers over the past two games, including 18 on Thursday.
RIDGEFIELD 8, BELLINGHAM 5, 10 INNINGS
Bellingham 021 200 000 0—5 11 0
Ridgefield 202 000 010 3—8 8 1
Pitching – JD Callahan 3.1 IP, 4 H, 4 ER, 4 K, 0 BB; Kai Francis 2.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 4 K, 0 BB; Hunter Alberini 2.1 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 6 K, 3 BB; Noah Ferguson 2.1 2 H, 1 ER, 6 K, 3 BB, loss. Highlights – Dan Gernon 2-4, R, RBI, 3B; Yugo Hamakawa 2-4, RBI; Cole Hinkelman 2-5, R, RBI, HR; Charlie Saum 2-4, RBI; Grayson Sterling 1-4, R, RBI, HR; Ty Saunders 1-4, R.
Pitching – Brock Gillis 3.2 IP, 6 H, 5 ER, 6 K, 2 BB; Jaykob Acosta 1.1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 3 K, 0 BB; Andrew Troppmann 2.1 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 4 K, 0 BB; Ryan Pitts 2.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 5 K, 0 BB, win. Highlights – Tafton Hensley 1-5, R; Caden Connor 3-4, R, 2 RBI, 3B; Coby Morales 1-4, 2 R, 2 RBI; Kody Darcy 1-1, R, 3 RBI, HR; Dom Enbody 1-2; Micah McDowell 1-4, R.