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Thursday, February 22, 2024
Feb. 22, 2024

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Springfield Drifters blank Ridgefield Raptors in series opener

Starting pitcher Cole Calnon throws eight shutout innings of 5-0 win

By , Columbian staff writer

RIDGEFIELD — Suffice to say, the Ridgefield Raptors are in the midst of an offensive slump.

Their fourth straight loss, a 5-0 defeat to the Springfield Drifters in the series opener Friday at Ridgefield Outdoor Recreation Complex, was another case of the Raptors’ bats going cold.

Ridgefield tallied nine hits, one more than the Drifters, but were held without a run against Springfield starting pitcher Cole Calnon, who threw eight shutout innings before Springfield gave the ball to reliver John Over to finish the job in the ninth.

Though the Raptors have a sense of security with a playoff berth already wrapped up by winning the West Coast League South Division first-half title, the past week has been disappointing for a team aiming to find its peak performance late in the season.

“Frustrations are for sure kind of setting in,” Ridgefield outfielder Trent Prokes said. “This team, we just don’t like losing. Grinding out games like this, it’s kind of hard but we’ll get through it. It’s just a little bump in the road.”

The game lasted just 1 hour, 49 minutes, partly a result of both starting pitchers, Calnon and Ridgefield’s Sawyer Parkin, moving quickly and putting together efficient innings.

But in the Raptors’ case, the fast pace was also indicative of needing a little more patience at the plate, especially with runners on base.

In two of the first three innings, the Raptors strung together back-to-back base hits, before a subsequent batter hit into a Springfield double play. The Drifters had three double plays in the game, all coming in the first four innings.

Plus, Springfield’s starting pitcher Calnon was throwing strikes at will. Of his 94 pitches, 67 were strikes. Calnon finished with three strikeouts and no walks while working around Ridgefield’s nine hits.

“Today was definitely a different game (than) we’ve normally played. It went by a lot quicker,” Prokes said. “(Calnon) was pounding the strike zone, so we fell behind really fast. We did feel a little rushed. Controlling the tempo a little bit would help a lot more.”

Ridgefield’s two and three hitters Friday, Justin Stransky and Prokes, each had two hits, while Jovan Camacho also tallied a pair of hits from the five hole.

“It starts at the top, but whoever is leading off (the inning) is where it starts,” Prokes said.

Springfield took a 2-0 lead in the third inning on a Jason Shedlock sacrifice bunt and Gage Bruce RBI single. Cade Crist added a sacrifice fly in the sixth inning for a 3-0 cushion.

Parkin, Ridgefield’s starter, went seven innings with three strikeouts, three walks five hits and three earned runs allowed.

Game two of the series will be played at 6:35 p.m. Saturday.

Three moments

One and done – After the first pitch of the first inning was thrown, Ridgefield starting left fielder Massimo Vega subbed out of the game for Jack Salmon. The reason? Recently-acquired players like Vega are required to appear in at least five West Coast League games to be eligible for the playoffs.

Striking while the iron’s hot – Springfield’s Brandon Reed and Colin Curry got on base with a walk and single, respectively, to put runners on the corners in the third inning. That set up a Jason Shedlock sacrifice bunt, followed by a Gage Bruce RBI single. The Drifters took a 2-0 lead.

Extra insurance – Upon Parkin’s exit in favor of left-handed pitcher Oscar Patron to start the eighth, Springfield pounded Ridgefield for two more runs from a Drew Johnson RBI single and Cade Crist RBI double.

Three players

Justin Stransky – Ridgefield’s starting catcher, a Fresno State commit, went 2-for-4 and threw out a Springfield runner attempting to steal second base.

Ryne Hays – The Seattle University product went 3-for-3 with a double for the Drifters.

Cole Calnon – Springfield’s starting pitcher from Lane Community College iced the Raptors in eight shutout innings on the mound.

Three numbers

9 – Hits for the Raptors, one more than the Drifters.

109 – Minutes of game action Friday. It was Ridgefield’s shortest nine-inning game of the season.

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67 – Strikes thrown by Springfield’s Calnon of his 94 pitches in eight innings.