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Oct. 7, 2022

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Ridgefield Raptors complete series sweep of Bellingham Bells — their first of the season

Raptors hold Bells to 3 runs on 14 hits

By , Columbian staff writer
Published:

RIDGEFIELD — Consistency has eluded the Ridgefield Raptors at times this summer, yet for the past three games, they’ve put all the pieces together.

The end result, a 7-3 win over the Bellingham Bells on Thursday at Ridgefield Outdoor Recreation Center, clinched the Raptors’ first series sweep of the season.

“We got to come out here every single day the way we came out these last few games,” said Ridgefield’s Safea Mauai. “I feel like, if we come out here like we did the past three games, we’re going to win a lot of ballgames. We just got to keep the ball rolling.”

Ridgefield’s grabbed the lead in the first inning with Trent Prokes and Mauai plating a pair of runs on a single and double, respectively, against Bellingham starter Trevin Hope, who came into the game with a West Coast League-leading 0.59 ERA.

Though unlike the prior two games of the series, in which Ridgefield put on offensive clinics to the tune of a combined 25 runs, Thursday was as much about its pitching and defense in preserving the lead.

Ridgefield starter Josh Sandoval held Bellingham to just one earned run in 3.2 innings while giving up six hits, relievers Harrison Howell and Sam Boyle kept Bellingham scoreless for three additional innings, while the Raptors defense played an error-free game with two double plays and several other timely outs to strand 10 Bellingham runners.

With the sweep, the race is officially on for the Raptors to chase a playoff spot in the WCL South Division. With a 20-12 overall record, and 4-3 in the second half, the Raptors are in second behind the Portland Pickles, who are 9-2 in the second half of the season with six straight wins.

Ridgefield hosts the Springfield Drifters (14-21) in a weekend series starting Friday at 6:35 p.m.

“We just got to play and we just got to keep winning ballgames, and see what happens in this second half of the season,” Mauai said.

Three moments

Getting out of trouble – Ridgefield completed a 5-4-3 double play to get out of the third inning with Bellingham runners on the corners. Nate Kirkpatrick made the out at second and threw on his knees to a stretched out Mauai at first. There was a brief delay as the field and home plate umpires discussed the call, but Bellingham’s Cole Hage was eventually called out at first after putting a ground ball in play.

Sharp goes yard (again) – Sharp climbed back to the top of the WCL home run leaderboard with two home runs in the series finale, a solo shot in the fifth and a two-run blast in the eighth.

Gutsy baserunning gives Ridgefield insurance – Stephen Espinoza led off the seventh with a base hit and charged head first into second in time to beat the tag. Two batters later, Travis Welker scored Espinoza on a single to right field, and Will Chambers added an RBI single to give the Raptors a 5-1 lead.

Three players

Travis Welker – Making his first start of the series for the Raptors, the Fresno State product went 3-for-4 with an RBI and two runs scored.

Christopher Campos – Bellingham’s starting short stop scored two of the Bells’ three runs and also led the team in a 3-for-5 effort, which included a double.

Safea Mauai – The first baseman returned to the Raptors’ lineup since July 8 when he, along with Yakima Valley Pippins players Josh Davis and Blake Leaverton, were ejected for their roles in a benches-clearing fight and later suspended. Mauai’s presence was immediately felt, as he drove in an RBI double in the first inning and finished 2-for-4.

“It’s just preparation and coming out every single days, and even the days that I was off, just coming in and getting the same reps … and even if I’m not playing, even if I’m hurt, or have a couple days off, I still come out here and I still prepare like I’m playing today,” he said.

Three numbers

2 – Earned runs given up by Hope, Bellingham’s starter, in 30 innings pitched coming into Thursday. The Raptors doubled that total with two runs in the first inning.

10 – Bellingham runners left on base in Thursday’s game. The Bells had 14 hits but just three runs to show for it.

8 – Series wins for the Raptors, who also completed their first sweep of the season by taking all three games against the Bells.

RIDGEFIELD 7, BELLINGHAM 3

Bellingham 000 100 020—3 14 1

Ridgefield 200 010 22x—7 13 1

Bellingham

Pitching – Trevin Hope 5 IP, 8 H, 3 ER, 4 K, 2 BB; Justin Thorsteinson 1.2 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 0 K, 1 BB; Jack Erdman 1.1 IP, 1 H, 2 ER, 2 K, 2 BB. Highlights – Elijah Hainline 1-4; Cole Hage 1-5; Christopher Campos 3-5, 2 R, 2B; Easton Amundsen 2-5; Evan Overmars 1-3; JR Freethy 1-4, R, HR, 2 RBI; Jace Phelan 2-3; Toussaint Bythewood 2-4, RBI; Colin Blanchard 1-4.

Ridgefield

Pitching – Josh Sandoval 3.2 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 1 K, 2 BB; Harrison Howell 1.1 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 1 K, 0 BB; Sam Boyle 2 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 1 K, 1 BB; Eli Shubert 1 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 1 K, 0 BB; Jeter Schuerman 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 3 K, 0 BB. Highlights – Jacob Sharp 2-5, 2 R, 2 HR, 3 RBI; Travis Welker 3-4, 2 R, RBI; Trent Prokes 2-5, R, 2B, RBI; Will Chambers 1-3, RBI; Safea Mauai 2-4, 2B, RBI; Doyle Kane 1-3; Stephen Espinoza 2-3, 2 R, 2B.

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