RIDGEFIELD – Few teams in the West Coast League have matched the Ridgefield Raptors’ offensive firepower this season. The Bend Elks, however, are one of those few.
The two teams rank first and second among 16 WCL teams in nearly every major offensive statistic. The Elks showed why on Wednesday with a bounce-back, 7-3 win over the Raptors following a quiet showing one day prior in a 10-1 loss.
Bend (25-19) blasted a pair of home runs over the right field fence at Ridgefield Outdoor Recreation Complex in the first and third innings off of Ridgefield starting pitcher Jeter Schuerman.
Brady Kasper hit a solo homer to give the visitors a quick 1-0 lead, then Evan Scavotto hit a two-run blast for a 3-1 lead in the third on the heels of an Elijah Jackson ground rule double.
“I think they ambushed our pitchers a little early, getting after early-in-the-count fastballs … and you got to hand it to them,” Ridgefield head coach Chris Cota said. “They hit the ball well early in the game and pitched well enough to hold us off.”
From there, Bend continued to stockpile runs. In the sixth, Michael Ball dropped an RBI single over the Raptors infield and Scavotto plated another run with a base hit in the sixth, giving the Elks a 6-2 lead. Evan Sylvester scored Bend’s final run in the seventh on a wild pitch from Aiden Vestbie.
Ridgefield (25-18) ultimately produced nine hits compared to 12 for Bend, but were unable to string together more than one run in an inning and also suffered a pair of deflating double plays
“I thought we had some good at-bats. We did not run the bases well, getting doubled off twice on line drives in front of the runner. We had some bad luck on a hit and run where it was hit right at second base with both infielders converging,” Cota said.
“It’s just baseball. I think we took some good at-bats, but I also think we gave away some at-bats too, getting down early in the count, not getting good pitches to hit and having bad results.”
The rubber match of the series will be played Thursday at 6:35 p.m. The Raptors are looking for their first series win since July 15-17 against the Springfield Drifters. They’ve since lost two of three games on the road against Bend and Cowlitz, respectively.
“Our guys continue to fight,” Cota said. “It might look from the outside looking in like, ‘gosh, they’re not even fighting,’ but they are. They all care about winning baseball games and we’ll continue to keep playing.”
Have bats, will travel – A pair of home runs from Brady Kasper and Evan Scavotto put the Elks up 3-1 through three innings.
Making it count with two outs – Sharp’s two-out RBI single in the fifth brought the Raptors to within 4-2. It was the team’s second run scored with two outs following Safea Mauai’s RBI single in the first.
Putting up a fight – Ridgefield got two runners on with walks to begin the bottom of the ninth, which led to Isaac Lovings slashing an RBI single up the middle to bring Ridgefield within 7-3. Bend then recorded three straight outs to finish the game.
Evan Scavotto – The University of Portland player continued a strong start to the series for Bend with a two-run home run in the third inning and an RBI single in the sixth. Scavotto also led the Elks with a 3-for-4 effort in the series opener and batted in the team’s only run.
Braden Boisvert – Bend’s starting pitcher was effective in five innings on the mound and limited Ridgefield to a pair of one-run innings.
Safea Mauai – Batting in the cleanup spot for the second straight game of the series, Mauai delivered Ridgefield’s first run on an RBI single in the first to tie the game at 1-1.
6 – Average number of runs Bend has scored in five games against the Raptors this season, all within the last two weeks.
3 – Consecutive losses for Ridgefield in the second game of a series after winning the opener.
2 – Double plays turned by Bend after Ridgefield lined out and runners were caught trying to tag back to a base.
BEND 7, RIDGEFIELD 3
Bend 102 102 100—7 12 0
Ridgefield 100 010 001—3 9 1