Thursday, March 30, 2023
March 30, 2023

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Ridgefield Raptors’ bats stay hot to clinch series win over the Bellingham Bells

Five-run fifth inning breaks open game for the Raptors

By , Columbian staff writer

RIDGEFIELD – More fifth-inning fireworks from the Ridgefield Raptors made the difference in clinching a series win over the Bellingham Bells.

Just like Tuesday’s five-run fifth, which included two homers, the Raptors matched those numbers Wednesday with a Jacob Sharp solo home run and an Isaac Lovings two-run bomb, which gave the Raptors a commanding lead they carried to the end of a 12-3 win at Ridgefield Outdoor Recreation Complex.

In two games against the Bells, who not only have the West Coast League’s best record (21-10), but also one of the top pitching staffs, Ridgefield has scored a combined 25 runs and with production from all over the lineup.

Six players had multiple base hits in Sharp, Austin Caviness, Mikey Kane, Trent Prokes, Nate Kirkpatrick and Lateef Wakil.

“It’s amazing,” Sharp said. “I feel like we just come together and our hitting is very powerful. We have a good hitting staff and we just love to hit the balls over the fence.”

Facing a 2-1 deficit in the bottom of the fifth, Sharp provided the spark for Ridgefield with the solo home run. Caviness and Mikey Kane followed with base hits, followed by a Prokes RBI single to right field. Doyle Kane added an RBI to score Mikey Kane, then Lovings delivered the exclamation point with a two-run blast to put the Raptors ahead 6-2.

“Just having guys like that on your team makes you confident,” Prokes said. “It just builds confidence for every one of these guys in here, just (knowing) that if you’re struggling, you’re going to have another guy behind you doing his job. It’s just fun out here.”

Prokes, who typically plays in the outfield when he’s not pitching, was Ridgefield’s designated hitter batting in the cleanup spot Wednesday.

With a 2-for-4 effort and two RBI, it was the latest productive night for the West Coast League’s leading hitter who’s averaging .407. Prokes, however, prefers not to look at his numbers.

“I try not to think about all the stats and all that stuff; I just come out and play,” Prokes said. “It’s just a number. I don’t worry about all that. I just know my game, going to be better than theirs, so I just stay locked in, have fun with it.”

Ridgefield has now won eight series on the season, but is still looking for its first sweep. The Raptors will have an opportunity to do so on Thursday in the series finale scheduled for 6:35 p.m.

Three moments

League-leading connection – Ridgefield’s first run came courtesy of a leadoff double from Jacob Sharp, the West Coast League-leader in slugging (.743), who scored on an RBI single from Trent Prokes, the top hitter in the WCL (.407).

Small ball – Bellingham took a 2-1 lead in the second when Ridgefield attempted to throw out a Bells running stealing second base, opening the door for Jaidon Matthews to score from third.

Piling it on – Following its five-run fifth inning, Ridgefield added three runs in the sixth, highlighted by an Austin Caviness RBI double and Alex Sepulveda RBI ground out.

Three players

Nate Kirkpatrick – Making his second start of the series at second base, Kirkpatrick, of St. Mary’s (Calif.) led the Raptors with three hits.

Jacob Sharp – The UNLV player hit his seventh home run of the season and scored a team-high three runs as part of a 2-for-4 night.

Cooper Rons – Ridgefield’s starting pitcher from UC Santa Barbara earned his third win of the season after pitching 5.2 innings with eight strikeouts, three walks and six hits allowed while scattering three runs, two of them earned.

Three numbers

4 – Bellingham runners thrown out on the base paths. Lovings caught two Bells attempting to steal second, while Sharp made two monster throws from right field in time for Lovings, the catcher, to tag out runners at the plate.

391 – Feet traveled on Lovings’ two-run home run in the fifth inning, which gave the Raptors a 6-2 lead.

14 – Combined strikeouts thrown by Ridgefield pitchers Cooper Rons, Aiden Vestbie, Gary Hall and Eastyn Culp.


Bellingham 001 011 000—3 10 4

Ridgefield 100 053 12x—12 15 2


Pitching – Austyn Coleman 4.2 IP, 9 H, 6 ER, 3 K, 1 BB; Nate Mendoza 2.1 IP, 3 H, 4 R, 2 ER, 0 K, 4 BB; Touissaint Bythewood 0.1 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 1 K, 2 BB; Jack Van Remortel 0.2 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 0 K, 0 BB. Highlights – Kyle Parkman 2-5, 2B; Jack Van Remortel R; Blake Conrad 2-5; Willis Cresswell 1-3; Easton Amundsen 2-4, RBI; Jaidon Matthews 2-4, 2 R, 2B, RBI; Cody Russell 1-4, RBI.


Pitching – Cooper Rons 5.2 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 8 K, 3 BB; Aiden Vestbie 1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 3 K, 1 BB; Gary Hall 1 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 2 K, 1 BB; Eastyn Culp 1 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 1 K, 0 BB. Highlights – Jacob Sharp 2-3, 3 R, 2B, HR, RBI; Austin Caviness 2-4, 2 R, 2B, RBI; Lateef Wakil 2-2, R, 2B, RBI; Mikey Kane 2-6, R, RBI; Trent Prokes 2-4, 2 R, 2 RBI; Doyle Kane 1-4, R, RBI; Alex Sepulveda RBI; Isaac Lovings 1-2, 2 R, HR, 2 RBI; Nate Kirkpatrick 3-4, RBI.