RIDGEFIELD — A quick start and stronger finish gave the Ridgefield Raptors more than enough to top the Walla Walla Sweets, 9-2, in Tuesday’s series opener.
For the Raptors’ final homestand of the regular season at Ridgefield Outdoor Recreation Complex, the home team heated up at the plate in a hurry.
A three-run first inning, highlighted by a Jackson Nicklaus RBI single and Henry Muench’s two-run base hit, gave Ridgefield a lead that stood over six subsequent innings, all scoreless.
Ridgefield’s starting pitcher Blake Hammond (3-2) earned the win after pitching six innings with three strikeouts, two walks, seven hits and one earned run allowed. In 39 innings pitched this season, Hammond has compiled a West Coast League-best 1.37 earned-run average.
Walla Walla’s Andrew Graham finished 4-for-4 with two RBI, including a two-out RBI single in the seventh inning to bring the Sweets (17-32) within 3-2.
But the Raptors quickly tacked on two more runs in the bottom half. Nick Seamons scored on an error by Walla Walla catcher Hayden Driggs, before Muench hit an RBI base hit through the gap into left field, scoring Jackson Nicklaus.
Muench (2-for-4, four RBI) and Nicklaus (2-for-3, one RBI) paced the Raptors with multiple hits.
Now 32-17 on the season, Ridgefield’s 32nd win Tuesday tied a team record set during the 2022 season when the Raptors finished the regular season at 32-21.
The Raptors have five games left in the regular season (two against Walla Walla, three at the Corvallis Knights) ahead of next week’s WCL divisional playoff series, which begins Tuesday, Aug. 8.