RIDGEFIELD — Though players have come and gone, the Ridgefield Raptors are playing with a consistency that seems to defy day-to-day lineup changes and other variables common in summer baseball.
With a 12-6 win over the Yakima Valley Pippins on Friday at Ridgefield Outdoor Recreation Complex, the Raptors have won six of their last seven games, despite losing a couple major contributors recently.
Outfielder Quincy Scott played his final game with the Raptors on Sunday before getting selected by the Texas Rangers in the ninth round of the MLB Draft Monday. Catcher Jacob Sharp left Ridgefield one week prior as a precautionary move not to hurt his draft stock after suffering a thumb injury. He was picked the Seattle Mariners in the 17th round of the draft Tuesday.
The absence of those two bats, plus an always-evolving pitching staff, forced Ridgefield coaches and players to adjust. So far, they’ve been up to the task.
“It’s hard, especially with summer ball it happens every year,” Ridgefield pitcher Sawyer Parkin said of the recent player movement. “We’re happy for those guys, we’re excited to see them get drafted. … Shout out Jacob Sharp and Quincy Scott, that’s pretty awesome for them.
“Those were two big pieces of us, but we knew they were going to do great things so we’re happy for them and (we’re) just working with what we’ve got right now. We’ve got a great core right now, so it’s going to be fun.”
Ridgefield (25-11) continued a strong stretch of play at the dish by putting up a combined eight runs between the second and third innings. The Raptors capitalized on three Pippins (12-22) errors as part of a five-run second, which also included a balk and Nick Seamons RBI double.
In the third, Reiss Calvin drove in two more runs on a fly ball to deep left field and Jack Salmon added an RBI ground out.
The 8-1 advantage gave Parkin, Ridgefield’s starting pitcher, a comfortable position to work from. The Columbia River High School alumnus and current Washington pitcher went five innings with three strikeouts, three walks, six hits and two earned runs allowed.
“We’re finding our groove on the offensive and defensive side,” Parkin said.
“I didn’t have my best stuff today. … A little weak, but I felt like I went out there and competed. (I) a great defense behind me, (catcher Justin Stransky) called a great game behind the dish, so they made it easy on my end.”
Ridgefield has won seven of its first 10 games to begin the second half of the season. After clinching a West Coast League playoff berth by winning the South Division first half, the Raptors have shown no signs of letting off the gas pedal.
“It’s been fun,” Parkin said. “Obviously winning the first half was huge. (We can) kind of relax for the second half, so I think that’s helping us — playing relaxed and not having to press about winning too much. We’re still winning a lot, so I think playing relaxed and having fun has been awesome.”
Comedy of errors – Yakima Valley committed three fielding errors and a balk during Ridgefield’s five-run second inning. The scoring began with a Reiss Calvin ground ball mishandled by the Pippins at third base, allowing two runs to score for the Raptors.
Julian Nunez then scored on a fielding error at shortstop, Calvin got a free run on a balk called on Pippins pitcher Ethan Salscheider and Nick Seamons hit an RBI double to bring in the final run of the inning.
Chipping away at the lead – Facing a 9-1 lead entering the fifth inning, Yakima Valley scored two runs apiece in the fifth and sixth. Owen Egan started things off with an RBI triple and Jace Phelan followed with an RBI base hit. In the sixth, Maxim Fullerton hit a two-run home run to right field, bringing the Pippins within four runs, 9-5.
Three more for good measure – Once Yakima Valley’s bats began to get on track, Ridgefield scored three additional runs of its own in the bottom of the sixth on a pair of wild pitches and a Jake Tsukada RBI single.
Reiss Calvin – The leadoff hitter and UC Santa Barbara commit went 3-for-4 with a team-high four RBI.
Justin Stransky – The Fresno State commit went 2-for-5 with three runs scored.
Julian Nunez – The Pepperdine commit got on base in all but one plate appearance with two hits, two walks and two runs scored.
5 – Games in which the Raptors have scored 10 runs or more this season. Four of the five, all Ridgefield wins, have come in the last two weeks.
3 – Errors charged to Yakima Valley, all in the second inning.
4 – Consecutive wins for the Raptors against the Pippins, a streak that began during a road sweep in June at Yakima.