RIDGEFIELD – It’s fitting that the Ridgefield Raptors and Yakima Valley Pippins closed their season series with an old-fashioned slugfest.
Ridgefield won 13-9 on Thursday in a battle of the West Coast League’s highest-scoring teams.
The second straight win over the Pippins was extra satisfying, considering Ridgefield had dropped all three games last week in Yakima.
After a 10-1 loss in Tuesday’s series opener, Ridgefield’s bats were unstoppable. The Raptors rapped 26 runs and 30 hits over the past two games.
Ridgefield (10-5) his now averaging a league-high 8.3 runs per game. Its 175 hits are 42 more than the next closest team, Bend.
“We’re loose,” Raptors outfielder Caden Connor said. “It’s summer ball. Coach (Chris) Cota is a great coach. He keeps us on our toes and keeps it light. It’s a great time. We just go out there and bang every day.”
With 16 hits and six walks, Raptors runners were on base constantly. Connor batted with the bases loaded in four of his five at bats. He went 2 for 5 with five RBI, including a bases-clearing double.
“I’m just trying to drive something to the middle of the field and get runners in,” Connor said of his approach with the bases loaded. “I want to put the ball in play, for sure.”
Yakima Valley (8-4) is averaging 7.6 runs per game. The Pippins hung close until Raptors pitcher Eli Shubert them down, ending the game with four-and-a-third innings of scoreless relief.
Clear the bases – Connor came up with the bases loaded in the second inning. He laced a double down the left field line, driving in all three runners and putting the Raptors ahead 3-1. Conner, who had a two-RBI double on Wednesday, has six RBI in the past two games.
Quick counterpunch – Yakima Valley wasted no time striking back after Ridgefield took a 4-1 lead in the second inning. With no outs, Will Lajoie hit a three-run homer onto the berm in right field. The Pippins would tack on two more runs to take a 6-4 lead in the third.
Two-out clutch – Ridgefield took control with three runs in the fourth inning to lead 11-6. John Peck offered the key hit with a two-out, two-run single, his second two-RBI single in as many innings. Peck finished 3 for 6 with four RBI.
Micah McDowell – Having arrived in Ridgefield last weekend, the Oregon State outfielder found his rhythm on Thursday. After going hitless in his WCL season debut Tuesday, he went 3 for 5 with two runs and two RBI.
Eli Shubert – Both teams’ bats were hot. Then Yakima Valley’s were not thanks to a shutdown outing by the Raptors reliever. Entering with two runners on in the fifth, Shubert threw four-and-a-third scoreless innings and earned a save. He struck out five, allowed one hit and lowered his ERA to 1.42.
Cole Urman – The Raptors catcher made an impact both at and behind the plate. He went 4 for 5 with four runs and a double, raising his batting average to .333. The Cal State Fullerton player also picked off a runner at first with a snap throw.
6 – Innings in which the Raptors had the bases loaded.
25 – Batters Ridgefield sent to the plate in innings two through four.
2 – Runs Pippins starting pitcher Dylan Bishop had allowed in two previous starts. Ridgefield tagged him for eight runs in three innings.
RIDGEFIELD 13, YAKIMA VALLEY 9
Yakima 105 030 000—9 12 3
Ridgefield 044 300 20x —13 16 4
Pitching – Dylan Bishop 3 IP, 8 H, 8 R, 7 ER, 2 K, 2 BB; Case Matter 1 IP, 3 H, 3 ER, 1 K, 1 BB; Ben Wills 2.1 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 2 K, 3 BB; Weston Janavs 1.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 3 K, 2 BB. Highlights – Taylor Holder 1-4, 2 R, RBI; Chaz Meyers 3-3, R, RBI, 2B; Will Lajoie 2-5, R, 3 RBI, HR; Sam Olsson 2-5, R, RBI; Mason Marenco 1-4, R, RBI; Alex Shanks 1-5, R, RBI; Blake Dickman 2-4, 2B.
Pitching – Nick Jennings 3 IP, 8 H, 6 R, 4 ER, 3 K, 1 BB; Cooper Vasquez 1.2 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 1 ER, 2 K, 2 BB; Eli Shubert 4.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 5 K, 1 BB. Highlights – John Peck 3-6, 4 RBI, SB; Reece Hernandez 1-6, RBI; Will Chanbers 1-3, 2 R; Cole Urman 4-6, 4 R, 2B; Kody Darcy 1-6, R; Micah McDowell 3-5, 3 R, 2 RBI; Caden Connor 2-5, R, 5 RBI.