RIDGEFIELD – In trying to refocus after an uneven performance in the series opener, the Ridgefield Raptors returned to a simple motto they’ve tried to live by this summer: “Just have fun with what we do.”
“Just having fun out here, instead of trying to be uptight and making it a job, you know?” Ridgefield’s Trent Prokes said. “Just more having fun. That’s kind of been our little quote in (the dugout) … it’s summer ball.”
Whether having fun is a byproduct of winning or vice versa, Ridgefield accomplished both on Wednesday in an 11-4 win over the Edmonton Riverhawks. The Raptors put together a balanced offensive performance up and down their lineup with five batters accounting for multiple hits, led by Prokes’ 4-for-4 outing with a double, an RBI and three runs scored.
On the mound, Eastyn Culp, a 6-foot-4, right-handed pitcher from Heritage High School and Umpqua Community College, took over for starter Josh Sandoval in the fourth inning and proceeded to hold Edmonton scoreless until the ninth. He ended the game with six strikeouts, one walk, three hits and one earned run allowed.
Ridgefield’s 14 hits were five more than it had in a 7-4 loss on Tuesday in the series opener, but the main difference was how the Raptors (6-4) were able to string them together Wednesday at Ridgefield Outdoor Recreation Complex.
The first indication came in the bottom of the second inning when Isaac Lovings, Prokes and Justin Trimble loaded the bases with no outs. From there, Austin Caviness, Travis Welker and Lateef Wakil delivered RBI to give the Raptors a 3-1 lead.
It was the first of four straight innings Ridgefield scored. Prokes doubled to plate Mikey Kane in the third.
Then, after Ridgefield scored a pair of runs in the fourth courtesy of Riverhawks errors, the Raptors delivered another trio of runs in the fifth with runs batted in from Welker, Jake Tsakuda and Kane.
“(Tuesday) the energy in the dugout was a little flat,” Prokes said. “Today we flipped a switch, kind of turned it on and gave it to them … The new guys we had coming in started to get a little better chemistry with each other, so I feel like we’re starting to come around with each other a little bit more and have a little more fun.”
The Riverhawks dropped to 4-9 with the loss and sit in eighth place of the West Coast League North Division
Limiting damage – Edmonton pounced to begin the fourth with a Will Rogers single and Clayton Loranger double, followed by an Ivan Brethowr RBI. That was enough for Ridgefield head coach Chris Cota to end Sandoval’s outing and give the ball to Culp. Austin Chouinard hit an RBI single in the following at-bat, bringing the Riverhawks within 4-3, but that was it. Culp ended the frame with a strikeout and force out at second base.
Edmonton errors – In the bottom of the inning, what appeared to be a routine pop fly ended up on the turf after a miscommunication between two Edmonton outfielders. It allowed Trimble to reach second with no outs, and later score on another error by the catcher, Rogers.
Welcome to Ridgefield – In his second game wearing a Raptors uniform, Justin Trimble (UC Santa Barbara) launched a two-run home run into the lawn behind right field for Ridgefield’s final two runs in the eighth.
Mikey Kane – Batting in the second spot, Kane went 3-for-4 with two RBI and a run scored. Kane (USC) also made a leaping grab at short stop on an Edmonton line drive for the third out in the fifth.
Eastyn Culp – The 6-foot-4, right-handed reliever out of Umpqua Community College brought some much-needed stability to the mound for the Raptors. Culp came on in the fourth inning for Sandoval and held Edmonton hitless between the fifth and eighth innings. After giving up a pair of hits to start the ninth, Culp closed out the game with a strikeout.
Austin Caviness – One of the Raptors’ 10 addition to the team this week, Caviness registered his first hit and an RBI in the second, then added a highlight-reel diving catch in center field the very next inning. The Cal Poly product added a double to finish 2-for-4.
15 – Consecutive Edmonton batters Culp faced without a hit between the fourth and ninth innings.
.500 – Prokes’ batting average in eight games this season, which is tied for first in the WCL with Walla Walla’s William Fuenning II.
11 – Kane’s RBI total for the season thus far, tied for the most on the Raptors with Safea Mauai.
RIDGEFIELD 11, EDMONTON 4
Edmonton 010 200 001–4 6 2
Ridgefield 031 232 00x— 11 14 0
Pitching – Riley Barrett 3.1 IP, 5 H, 4 ER, 3 K, 2 BB; Shaun Atamanchuk 2.2 IP, 6 H, 5 ER, 3 K, 2 BB; Kyle Poapst 2 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 4 K, 1 BB. Highlights – Will Rogers 1-4, R; Clayton Loranger 2-4, 2B, 2 R; Ivan Brethowr RBI; Austin Chouinard 2-4, R, 2 RBI; Ryan Madgic 1-2, RBI, 2B.
Pitching – Josh Sandoval 3.2 IP, 3 H, 3 ER, 2 K, 0 BB; Eastyn Culp 5.2 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 6 K, 1 BB. Highlights – Jake Tsakuda 2-4, RBI, 2B; Mikey Kane 3-4, R, 2 RBI; Isaac Lovings R; Trent Prokes 4-4, 3 R, RBI, 2B; Justin Trimble 1-3, 3 R, 2 RBI, HR; Austin Caviness 2-5, R, RBI, 2B; Travis Welker 2-4, 2 R, 2 RBI; Lateef Wakil RBI.