RIDGEFIELD – A change of scenery was exactly what the Ridgefield Raptors needed.
One night after the Raptors were shut out and held to four hits in a loss to the Portland Pickles, they returned to Ridgefield Outdoor Recreation Complex on Friday to begin a six-game homestand.
During the day, players and coaches led a youth baseball camp at the RORC, and by night, the Raptors were putting on a hitting clinic against the Victoria HarbourCats.
Ridgefield came back from an early 5-0 hole, took the lead with a five-run inning of its own and held off numerous Victoria rallies to claim a 13-11 win in the series opener.
The Raptors produced 17 hits, including seven doubles and a home run, in the hitter-friendly ballpark.
“I love this atmosphere, I love the RORC, I love coming out (here) every day,” said Doyle Kane, who went 5-for-5 with a double and two RBI.
Ridgefield (11-7) took the lead for good in the sixth inning thanks to an Isaac Lovings sacrifice fly to score Austin Caviness, followed by an RBI doubles from Doyle Kane and Travis Welker.
It broke a 10-10 tie forced in the top half of the inning when Victoria’s Josh Rolling hit a three-run home run off of Ridgefield reliever Jett Lodes, who came on for Harrison Howell with two HarbourCats on base.
Yet Ridgefield’s go-ahead sixth inning was small in comparison to a few innings earlier.
With Victoria’s five-run second inning, all of which came with two outs against Ridgefield starter Aiden Vestbie, Ridgefield began to chip away at the deficit.
Two runs in the bottom half and another in the third, in between two more Victoria runs, brought the Raptors within 7-3 going to the fourth.
With a five-spot already given up to the HarbourCats (8-10), the Raptors matched it. First, Alex Sepulveda homered to right field on the heels of a Doyle Kane single, then Jake Tsukada, Mikey Kane and Trent Prokes added RBI doubles to give the Raptors an 8-7 lead.
“Just to keep grinding at the plate … grinding out good at-bats, just putting the ball in play. That’s it,” Doyle Kane said of Ridgefield’s approach to coming back.
Between Doyle Kane and Mikey Kane, the brothers accounted for eight of Ridgefield’s 17 hits. The two played together growing up through three years of high school at St. Francis (La Canada, Calif.), two years at College of the Canyons under Raptors head coach Chris Cota. Now, they get one final summer playing together before Mikey Kane moves on to play at USC and Doyle Kane finds his next college program.
“I love playing with my brother. We’ve been living together since we were born, so it’s definitely a surreal experience,” Doyle Kane said.
Two-out triumph – The HarbourCats made the most of their final out in the second, with four straight RBI singles from Rolling, Josh Walker, Grady Morgan and Jessada Brown. Ridgefield starter Aiden Vestbie then walked a batter with the bases loaded, which prompted the Raptors to bring Isaac Keen on to the mound. The relief pitcher struck out the next batter to get out of the frame.
Make it a double – At the heart of Ridgefield’s fourth-inning rally was three straight RBI doubles to take the lead. Tsukada, Mikey Kane and Prokes supplied three straight at the top of the Raptors’ order, with the latter’s RBI double putting them ahead 8-7.
Baserunning blunder – With two Victoria runners on in the fifth, Jessada Brown singled off the center field wall, but two Victoria runners ended up next to each other at third base when Josh Rolling was caught between third and home, and Grady Morgan tagged up to third.
In the end, the plate umpire called Morgan out for the HarbourCats’ second out, followed by a ground out to keep Victoria off the board.
Mikey Kane – The No. 2 hitter in the Raptors’ order went 3-for-4 with a double, RBI and a run scored.
Jake Tsukada – In addition to hitting an RBI double and scoring a pair of runs, the second baseman made a few heads-up plays in the field. The most consequential was a leaping grab on a Clark Henry line drive, which held HarbourCats runners at the corners with two outs and kept them from adding to a four-run lead.
Josh Rolling – Aside from a strikeout, Rolling was effective in every one of his plate appearances with three hits, including the three-run homer, and four RBI.
7 – Doubles hit by the Raptors in Friday’s game.
336 – The distance measured in feet on Alex Sepulveda’s two-run home run, his first of the season.
7/26/19 – The last time Ridgefield and Victoria played each other. Following Ridgefield’s inaugural 2019 season, the West Coast League’s Canadian teams sat out the next two years during the COVID-19 pandemic.
RIDGEFIELD 13, VICTORIA 11
Victoria 052 003 100—11 14 1
Ridgefield 021 523 00x— 13 17 0
Pitching – Noah Takacs 3.1 IP, 9 H, 7 ER, 2 K, 1 BB; Dawson Hurford 2.1 IP, 7 H, 6 ER, 1 K, 1 BB.; Sam Walbridge 1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 0 K, 1 BB; Flynn Ridley 1 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 1 K, 0 BB. Highlights – Grady Morgan 2-5, R, 2 RBI; Jessada Brown 3-6, R, RBI; Roberto Gonzalez 3-6, 2B, RBI; Michael Tsoukalas 1-3, R; Luke Cheng 1-3, 2 R; Josh Rolling 3-4, R, HR, 4 RBI; Josh Walker 1-5, R, 2 RBI.
Pitching – Aiden Vestbie 1.2 IP, 6 H, 5 ER, 1 K, 2 BB; Isaac Keen 1.2 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 4 K, 0 BB; Boone Rush 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 1 K, 1 BB; Harrison Howell 1 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 0 K, 2 BB; Jett Lodes 1.2 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 1 K, 0 BB; Gary Hall 1 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 3 K, 1 BB; Jeter Scheurman 1 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 1 K, 0 BB. Highlights – Jake Tsukada 1-3, 2 R, 2B, RBI; Mikey Kane 3-4, R, 2B, RBI; Trent Prokes 1-3, R, 2B, 2 RBI; Will Chambers 2-5, 2 R, 2B; Isaac Lovings 1-4, R, RBI; Doyle Kane 5-5, 3 R, 2B, 2 RBI; Alex Sepulveda 1-4, R, HR, 2 RBI; Austin Caviness 2-5, 2 R, 2B, 2 RBI; Travis Welker 1-4, 2B, 2 RBI.