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Monday, February 26, 2024
Feb. 26, 2024

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Ridgefield Raptors erupt for 7-run, two-out rally to take series win over Bellingham Bells

By , Columbian staff writer
Published:

RIDGEFIELD — It started with a long at-bat that eventually paid off for a two-run, extra-base hit.

By the end of the Ridgefield Raptors’ offensive barrage against the Bellingham Bells in the fourth inning, Ridgefield brought in seven runs on eight hits, including two doubles, one triple and one home run, all with two outs.

That inning was the story of Saturday night’s eventual 10-4 Raptors triumph at Ridgefield Outdoor Recreation Complex, which clinched a series win for the home team on the heels of Friday’s 5-4 win in extra innings.

Ridgefield’s fourth-inning surge seemed improbable at times, especially the longer it lasted against a Bellingham pitching staff that boasts the top earned-run average in the West Coast League. It also begs the question, can hitting become contagious for a team in certain situations, such as that one? The Raptors certainly think so.

“Most definitely,” said Ridgefield’s Quincy Scott, who hit a two-run home run in the midst of the rally. “I feel like once you get two hits in, it just kind of fires up the whole dugout, fires up each person individually. I would say that’s the most contagious thing ever, when you got a two-out rally going. It’s hard to stop.”

The Raptors (21-10) watched as leadoff hitter Jake Tsukada battled Bellingham pitcher Ty Saunders in a lengthy at-bat that included five pitches fouled off. Down to his last strike, Tsukada got a fly ball to drop inside the left-field foul line, bringing in two runs.

Next up, Julian Nunez lined an RBI double into left, before Trent Prokes launched an extra-base hit and slid in head-first at third base for a triple. Another run scored in the process.

That brought up Scott, who hit his first homer of the season, a two-run shot to left that landed next to the Raptors’ bullpen. Scott finished 3-for-5 with a team-high four RBI and extended his hitting streak to six games.

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“That baseball looks like a beach ball to me,” Scott said. “Anything I see, I’m confident, I know I’m going to hit something, I know I’ll hit it hard. … My thing right now is just to try to drive the ball up the middle. If I pull it or hit it (opposite), it is what it is, but I’m feeling very confident out there.”

The Raptors were through the top of their order at that point, but they weren’t done yet.

Corey Nunez got on base with a single and stole second to get in scoring position. Tristan Gomes then teed up a base hit down the right-field line to plate Nunez. A single from Cole Sheehan gave Ridgefield its eighth hit of the inning. The memorable frame ended on a Jack Salmon fly out.

Ridgefield added a late run in the eighth on another RBI base hit from Scott, but the damage was done long before.

With the win, Ridgefield handed Bellingham (20-9) just its second series loss of the season. The Raptors will go for the sweep Sunday with first pitch scheduled for 1:05 p.m.

“I think it says we’re the best,” Scott said. “We’re great at hitting. We have a great team bond, you know, we’re all very close with each other (and) we clicked very fast. You can go ahead and put up guys throwing 95, 96 miles per hour, it doesn’t matter, we’re going to hit them. We can hit speed like no other.”

Three moments

Top of the order sets the tone – Ridgefield jumped ahead 2-0 in the third inning with a Jake Tsukada RBI double followed by a Quincy Scott two-out RBI base hit.

Ridgefield’s seven-run barrage – See above.

Bells bats come alive – Bellingham made certain it would not be shutout when Nate Kirkpatrick, a former Ridgefield Raptor, hit an RBI single in the sixth inning to bring in the Bells’ first run. The next inning, Bellingham added three more runs on a Yohann Dessureault RBI double and Coleman Schmidt two-run home run.

Three players

Jake Tsukada – The recent University of Hawaii transfer was stellar as Ridgefield’s leadoff hitter. Tsukada went 3-for-5 with two doubles, two RBI and two runs scored.

Quincy Scott – Scott’s latest start in Ridgefield’s cleanup spot yielded a 3-for-5 outing with a two-run home run and four RBI total. The UC Santa Barbara-bound player is hitting .317 this season.

Charlie Royle – Making his third start of the season, the right-handed pitcher from Cal Poly posted five scoreless innings with five strikeouts, three walks and five hits allowed.

Three numbers

7 – Runs scored by the Raptors with two outs in the fourth inning.

2 – Games this season in which Bellingham’s West Coast League-best pitching staff has surrendered double-digit runs. Ridgefield became the second team Saturday, joining the Victoria HarbourCats, who had 11 in a July 1 win over the Bells.

3 – Ridgefield players, who have appeared in a minimum of 20 games, hitting above .300 this season: Jake Tsukada (.353), Trent Prokes (.303) and Andy Allanson (.302).

BOXSCORE: RIDGEFIELD 10, BELLINGHAM 4

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