RIDGEFIELD – Representing the go-ahead run at third with the bases loaded, Jacob Sharp recalled Ridgefield Raptors head coach Chris Cota telling him to be aggressive if an opportunity presented itself.
“Before the situation even happened, coach Cota said be aggressive. Anything that goes in the dirt – just try to read it and get a good jump. And that’s exactly what I did,” Sharp said.
Sharp pounced when Portland Pickles pitcher David Morgan threw a ball that got behind catcher Michael Campagna. Sharp bolted for home and slid into the plate just ahead of Morgan’s tag, sending the Raptors to a walk-off, 8-7 win over the Pickles in the series opener Tuesday at Ridgefield Outdoor Recreation Complex.
“I just feel like our team, we (have) really good chemistry,” Sharp said. “We like to compete, we don’t like to lose and we just want to keep winning together. That’s the main goal, I feel like, with this team.”
Sharp wasn’t just aggressive in the final moment of the game though. When his walk-up music “Volver Volver” by Vicente Fernández blared over the RORC sound system, chances were something good was about to happen.
In the bottom of the first, the UNLV product put the Raptors (13-8) on the board with a solo home run. Then in the seventh, after a Jake Tsukada RBI single knotted the game at 4-4, Sharp blasted a three-run homer to left field to spot the Raptors a three-run lead. Sharp has a team-high five home runs this season, all of coming at the RORC.
The lead was short-lived, however, because Portland’s Jacob Jablonski responded with a three-run homer in the eighth, tying the game at 7-7.
The score remained unchanged heading into the bottom of the ninth. Sharp hit a single off of Portland’s Oscar Lepe to lead off, before Doyle Kane was intentionally walked and Austin Caviness was hit by a Lepe pitch to load the bases.
That brought in Morgan against Ridgefield’s Riley McCarthy with the bases loaded. Morgan’s wild second pitch opened the door for Sharp to score.
The Raptors have won three of four games against the Pickles (10-7) so far this season, following last week’s series at Portland. Two of the four have been decided by one run.
“I just feel like it’s a good rivalry together,” Sharp said, “and we just always like to compete.”
Divin’ Doyle Kane – Portland threatened to hang multiple runs on the board in the second inning with a Jacob Jablonski RBI single and two runners in scoring position. But Raptors first baseman Doyle Kane fielded a Kyler Stancato bunt up the line and lunged head first to tag the base for the third out, stranding a pair of Pickles runners.
Flying solo – Portland’s Dalton Mashore and Michael Campagna each hit solo home runs to tie or take the lead. In the second, Mashore cleared the right field fence by a few inches for a 2-2 tie. In the sixth, Campagna broke a 3-3 tie with a solo homer to left.
Schuerman earns the save – Following Portland’s game-tying home run in the eighth, Jeter Schuerman, came in to begin the ninth. He gave up a single to Jackson Van De Brake and walked Keith Jones II, before striking out the next two batters to get out of the frame.
Riley McCarthy – A 2-for-4 effort with an RBI double in the second was a promising effort for the Mountain View High alumnus and current University of Portland player.
Jacob Jablonski – The Pickles’ No. 8 hitter from Chico State went 3-for-4 with four RBI and hit the game-tying home run (his first of the season) in the eighth inning.
Trent Prokes – The part-time position player, part-time pitcher continues to be automatic at the plate with a team-leading .419 batting average. Prokes went 2-for-5 and scored a run Tuesday.
5 – Home runs for Sharp in 14 games with Ridgefield, all coming at the RORC. Sharp also hit a pair of bombs in the exhibition opener on June 1 against the Cowlitz Black Bears.
6 – Games decided by one run the Raptors have played in this season. They’ve won four of the six.
2 – Walk-off wins for the Raptors this season. The first was on June 19 when Isaac Lovings hit a walk-off home run to win the series finale against the Cowlitz Black Bears.
RIDGEFIELD 8, PORTLAND 7
Portland 011 011 030—7 10 0
Ridgefield 110 010 401— 8 13 2
Pitching – Alex Giroux 5 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 5 K, 1 BB; Evan Tomlinson 2.0 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 1 K, 0 BB.; Ryan Faulks 0.1 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 1 K, 0 BB; Tommy Snyder 0.1 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 0 K, 0 BB; Levi Kiuchi 1.2 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 2 K, 1 BB; Oscar Lepe 0.1 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 K, 0 BB; David Morgan 0.0 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 0 K, 0 BB. Highlights – Jackson Van De Brake 2-3, RBI; Dalton Mashore 1-5, HR; Michael Campagna 1-3, HR; LaTrey McCollum 1-4, 2 R; Jacob Jablonski 3-4, 4 RBI, HR; 1-4; Kyle Russell 2-4, R, 2B.
Pitching – Josh Sandoval 4 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 0 K, 1 BB; Isaac Keen 1 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 0 K, 0 BB; Harrison Howell 1.2 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 1 K, 0 BB; Giancarlo Flores 1.1 IP, 1 H, 3 R, 0 ER, 2 K, 1 BB; Jeter Schuerman 1 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 2 K, 1 BB. Highlights – Jake Tsukada 2-4, R, 2B, RBI; Mikey Kane 1-5, R, RBI; Jacob Sharp 3-5, 3 R, 2 HR, 4 RBI; Trent Prokes 2-5, RBI; Austin Caviness 1-2; Riley McCarthy 2-4, R, 2B, RBI; Travis Welker 2-3, R.