Ridgefield earned its first postseason berth in 2021 as the No. 2 seed in the South. The Raptors were eliminated following two losses against Corvallis.
The second half of Ridgefield’s season begins Friday with a three-game road series against the Yakima Valley Pippins.
Through 26 games, and with 27 still to play, below is a rundown of the key players and moments that have defined the Raptors’ season so far.
Best win: July 5 at Corvallis
Perhaps this looks like a case of recency bias, but the Raptors’ first win over the Knights in team history is a worthy choice.
The visitors pounced early at Goss Stadium with two runs in each of the first two innings, and leaned on shutdown pitching from Ryan Harvey (UC Santa Barbara), Charlie Royle (Cal Poly) and Isaac Keen (West Texas A&M) in an 11-1 win.
Mikey Kane, a shortstop, is hitting .301 with 20 RBI, two home runs and nine doubles, which leads the WCL.
Other returners include Will Chambers (Utah Tech), who was last year’s home run leader in the WCL, and Lovings, in his third season with the Raptors.
Questions for the second half
Who, if anyone, will dethrone the Corvallis Knights?
Though Ridgefield broke through this week with a series win over Corvallis, the Knights have been at or near the top of the WCL standings throughout the first half.
It hardly comes as a surprise for the five-time defending WCL champions, who earned their most recent title over Yakima Valley in 2021.
Ridgefield, meanwhile, is well-positioned to make a run at the playoffs along with fellow South teams like the Portland Pickles and Bend Elks.
In the North, the Bellingham Bells have jumped out to a league-best 19-6 record.
Can Ridgefield sustain its recent pitching success?
That was one of the most pressing questions facing the Raptors coming into the season.
The team has improved to the fifth-best combined ERA in the league (4.31), and has already earned three shutout wins this season.
They have several quality starters including UC Santa Barbara’s Cooper Rons (0.64 ERA), Utah Tech’s Ben Hart (team high 26 strikeouts) and relievers like Jacob Kokeny (San Diego Christian) and Jeter Schuerman (Spokane Falls), who’s earned three saves in seven appearances.
Cota has given a lot of credit to pitching coach Tyler Raskin, who the head coach said is “really bearing down on them a little bit, and I think they’re getting better every time out.”