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News / Sports / Clark County Sports

Jake Tsukada, Dylan Stewart highlight Ridgefield Raptors on All-West Coast League teams

Raptors land six players across the teams

By Will Denner, Columbian staff writer
Published: August 17, 2023, 12:36pm

Six Ridgefield Raptors players were selected for the 2023 All-West Coast League teams released Thursday, representing a mix of second-year returners and newcomers at several positions.

Raptors infielder Jake Tsukada (Hawaii) and pitcher Dylan Stewart (Pepperdine) both landed on the first team. Pitcher Blake Hammond (Northwest Nazarene) was a second-team selection. Plus, an additional three Ridgefield players earned honorable mention nods for their contributions this summer: catcher Justin Stransky (Fresno State), outfielder Trent Prokes (University of the Cumberlands) and pitcher Charlie Royle (Cal Poly).

“With every passing year, I’m more impressed with how much talent and commitment we’re blessed with each summer in the West Coast League,” WCL Commissioner Rob Neyer said in Thursday’s release. “We saw that in the draft earlier this summer, and now we’re seeing this breadth of talent in our All-League teams.”

One of the main catalysts behind Ridgefield’s 33-23 record, capturing the WCL South Division first-half title and reaching the WCL Divisional Series playoffs, Tsukada appeared in a team-high 53 games between the regular season and playoffs.

As the Raptors’ primary leadoff hitter, Tsukada had a .351 batting average, which ranked fourth in the WCL, with 33 RBI, 11 doubles and 15 stolen bases. Tsukada also endeared himself to Ridgefield fans with strong defensive play at third base, with a .961 fielding percentage and just three errors in 48 games.

Earlier this summer, Tsukada announced plans to transfer from University of Portland to Hawaii’s program in his home state for his final collegiate baseball season.

Also landing on the first team was Stewart, a right-handed pitcher who made seven starts in Ridgefield following his freshman year at Pepperdine. In 30⅓ innings pitched, Stewart posted a 1.18 earned-run average with 33 strikeouts and 13 walks. 

Ridgefield was one of six teams in the 16-team league to have two or more first-team selections. The WCL champion Corvallis Knights led with three players on the first team.

Ridgefield’s pitching depth was evident with Hammond and Royle also making the All-WCL teams. Hammond tossed 39⅓ innings, the second most on the team, and compiled a 1.37 ERA. With a 3-2 record in nine appearances (seven starts), Hammond had 26 strikeouts and 20 walks.

Royle also made seven starts between the regular season and playoffs. In 33⅔ innings, the right-hander posted a 1.87 ERA with 34 strikeouts and just six walks. 

The honorable mentions also included Prokes, last year’s WCL batting champion. After a slow start to the 2023 campaign, Prokes bounced back to finish the season with a .324 batting average in 34 games. He added 10 RBI, four doubles and two triples.

Prokes, along with Tsukada, Royle and several other players, reunited in Ridgefield this summer after playing with the Raptors in 2022 as well. In fact, according to Tsukada, Prokes was instrumental in convincing some players to return for a second season.

“It was just a great experience last summer,” Prokes said in a June 1 interview prior to Ridgefield’s first game of the season. “I love the squad that they have and I love the coaches. It’s just a great environment to be in. I love being out here.”

Rounding out the Raptors’ honorable mentions was Stransky, who came to Ridgefield following a standout sophomore campaign at Lower Columbia College in Longview. The Fresno State-bound catcher hit .337 in 28 games with nine extra-base hits, one home run and 10 RBI.

Prior to Thursday’s release of the All-WCL teams, the league announced Yakima Valley Pippins first baseman Jace Phelan was named WCL MVP and Edmonton pitcher Halen Knoll earned Pitcher of the Year honors.

Later this week, Neyer will announce the Coach of the Year, Umpire of the Year and Team Sportsmanship Award.

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First-Team All-WCL

C – Luca DiPaolo (USC, sophomore), Bend Elks
1B – Jace Phelan (Gonzaga, junior), Yakima Valley Pippins
2B – Frankie Carney (UC Irvine, freshman), Wenatchee AppleSox
3B – Jake Tsukada (Hawaii, senior), Ridgefield Raptors
SS – Jack Metcho (Univ. of the Pacific, sophomore), Portland Pickles
OF – Ben Parker (William & Mary, senior), Walla Walla Sweets
OF – Sam Stem (Gonzaga, sophomore), Corvallis Knights
OF – Aidan Espinoza (UCLA, freshman), Walla Walla Sweets
Util – Ethan Hedges (USC, soph), Corvallis Knights
DH – Dalton Mashore (Saint Mary’s, senior), Portland Pickles

SP – Halen Knoll (Edmonton Collegiate, senior), Edmonton Riverhawks
SP – Ryan Beitel (Univ. of British Columbia, senior), Bellingham Bells
SP – Riley Barrett (Arizona State, freshman), Edmonton Riverhawks
SP – Tucker Grote (Oklahoma Wesleyan, senior), Bend Elks
SP – Dylan Stewart (Pepperdine, sophomore), Ridgefield Raptors
RP – Sean Wiese (Arizona Christian, senior), Corvallis Knights
RP – Andrew Pinedo (Hope International, junior), Nanaimo NightOwls
RP – Logan MacNeil (Campbellsville, junior), Victoria HarbourCats

Second-Team All-WCL

C – Michael Easter (Azusa Pacific, junior), Nanaimo NightOwls
1B – Tyler Davis (Fresno State, junior), Victoria HarbourCats
2B – Roberto Núñez (Embry-Riddle, junior), Port Angeles Lefties
3B – Tyler Quinn (Utah, senior), Corvallis Knights
SS – Hudson Shupe (Gonzaga, sophomore), Victoria HarbourCats
OF – LeTrey McCollum (UCSB, junior), Cowlitz Black Bears
OF – Riley Paulino (U. of Pikeville, junior), Nanaimo NightOwls
OF – Andrew Valdez (Fresno Pacific, senior), Bellingham Bells
Util – Griffin Palfrey (Columbia, junior), Kelowna Falcons

SP – Blake Hammond (Northwest Nazarene, sophomore), Ridgefield Raptors
SP – Merit Jones (Utah, sophomore), Corvallis Knights
SP – Toby Haarer (Central Arizona, sophomore), Wenatchee AppleSox
SP – Sam Hall (Panola JC, sophomore), Kelowna Falcons
SP – Colby Scheuber (Grays Harbor College, sophomore), Port Angeles Lefties
RP – Davis Franklin (U. of Puget Sound, junior), Victoria HarbourCats
RP – Jadon Williamson (Lewis-Clark State, junior), Wenatchee AppleSox
RP – James Trimble (Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, sophomore), Bellingham Bells
# year in school noted for fall/winter/spring, 2023-2024

Honorable Mention All-WCL

Bellingham: Will Armbruester (Arizona State), Daniel Paret (Stetson), Will Franklin (Edmonds College), Carter Parcher (CSU-Bakersfield), Tomas Urbina (Incarnate Word)

Bend: Kellan Oakes (Oregon State)

Corvallis: Blake Avila (Grand Canyon), Ty Yukumoto (Pacific), Zach Johnson (Utah Valley), Nathan Marshall (Lane CC)
Cowlitz: Chris Brown (USC), Kai Francis (Gonzaga), Jase Schueller (Vanguard), Kyle Ethridge (Northwest Nazarene), Gavin Ludlow (Linfield)

Cowlitz: Chris Brown (USC), Kai Francis (Gonzaga), Jase Schueller (Vanguard), Kyle Ethridge (Northwest Nazarene), Gavin Ludlow (Linfield)

Edmonton: Tom Poole (Dallas Baptist), Jonny McGill (British Columbia), Dallin Harrison (San Diego), Tommy Takayoshi (Fresno State), Matthew Ridsdale (U. of Alberta)

Kamloops: Cooper Neville (Grand Canyon)

Kelowna: Jonas Salk (Univ. of Portland), Troy Shepard (Spokane Falls CC) Koen van ‘t Klooster (Panola JC)

Nanaimo: Ethan Rivera (Cal State San Marcos), Elijah Ickes (Hawaii), Jakob Fleury (Skagit Valley College), Payton Robertson (Arizona Christian)

Port Angeles: CJ Lewis (Jackson State)

Portland: Naighel Calderon (Hawaii)

Ridgefield: Justin Stransky (Fresno State), Trent Prokes (Cumberland), Charlie Royle (Cal Poly)

Springfield: John Over (Linfield)

Victoria: Dallas Macias (Oregon State), Nick Dumesnil (Cal Baptist), Jack Seward (Central Arizona), Jack Johnson (Baylor), Russell Young (British Columbia), Michael Crossland (UC San Diego)

Walla Walla: Kennedy Hara (Colorado Mesa). Payton Knowles (Gonzaga), Zach Hangas (Ottawa)

Wenatchee: Ryan Martinez (Univ. of the Pacific), Evan Canfield (Edmonds College), Brandham Ponce (Washington State), Michael Cunneely (Gonzaga)

Yakima Valley: Zack Blaszak (Montana State-Billings), Jackson Betancourt (Montana State-Billings), Tommy Eisenstat (Gonzaga)