RIDGEFIELD — The Ridgefield Raptors don’t need to wait for this weekend’s predicted heat wave to see something that’s scorching.
Ridgefield opened a three-game series against the West Coast League’s hottest team, falling 10-1 to the Yakima Valley Pippins on Tuesday at Ridgefield Outdoor Recreation Complex.
Yakima Valley (8-2) has won six straight West Coast League games and 12 overall. That includes a three-game sweep over Ridgefield last week.
A pair of two-run home runs lifted the Pippins in the clash of the WCL’s highest scoring teams. Ridgefield (8-5) was held to six hits after entering Tuesday averaging a league-best 8.1 runs per game.
“They compete, especially at the plate,” Ridgefield catcher Cole Urman said. “There are no easy outs. Even with two strikes, they’re still putting good swings on the ball.”
Leadoff hitter Taylor Holder’s two-run homer gave Yakima Valley a 5-1 lead in the sixth inning. The Pippins then put the game away with five runs in the ninth.
“Today we came out a bit flat compared to how we’ve been playing,” Urman said. “Hopefully tomorrow we come back and play a bit better.”
Second shot — Yakima Valley cleanup hitter Noah Williamson nearly homered in the first inning, flying out to the wall. He left no doubt in the third inning, blasting a two-run shot that cleared the scoreboard in left field and landed on Hillhurst Road. It put the Pippins ahead 3-0.
Jam escaped — Ridgefield had pulled within 3-1 in the fifth inning and had the bases loaded. Yakima Valley brought in Owen Wild to face Raptors cleanup hitter Will Chambers, who entered Tuesday hitting .391 with a league-high 16 RBI. Wild got a strikeout to deny Ridgefield its best rally chance.
Left-field leather — Ridgefield had two on with two out in the bottom of the fourth. Tafton Hensley lashed a line drive to left, Holder made a diving catch to deny the Raptors a prime scoring chance.
Nick Nygard — Leading 3-0 Yakima Valley threatened to break the game open in the top of the fourth, loading the bases with two outs. But Nygard escaped the jam, the latest solid relief appearance for the University of Portland left-hander and Columbia River grad. Nygard, who pitched two scoreless innings, lowered his ERA to 1.93 and has 19 strikeouts in 14 innings.
Tanner Jacques — The Skyview grad had two of Ridgefield’s six hits, raising his average to .302. The second baseman has base hits in six of the last seven WCL games.
Owen Wild — The Yakima Valley reliever from Gonzaga has given Ridgefield hitters fits this season. Tuesday, he pitched the final 4 2/3 innings, striking out eight and allowing two hits. In three outings against the Raptors this season, Wild has allowed just one run and six hits over nine-plus innings, striking out 18.
13 — The number of pitches John Peck faced in Ridgefield’s best at bat. He fouled off seven pitches with two strikes before doubling to right-center, driving in the Raptors only run.
8 — The number of Yakima Valley’s 14 hits that came on two-strike counts.
8.7 — Runs per game averaged by Yakima Valley, the best in the league.