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News / Sports / Clark County Sports

Corvallis Knights spoil Ridgefield Raptors’ 2023 opener with comeback 6-3 win

Defending WCL champion Knights score five runs in ninth inning

By Will Denner, Columbian staff writer
Published: June 2, 2023, 10:14pm

RIDGEFIELD — A dream start to the Ridgefield Raptors’ 2023 season turned into a nightmare.

The Raptors built a 2-0 lead through seven innings against the visiting Corvallis Knights Friday at Ridgefield Outdoor Recreation Complex, only to watch it evaporate.

The six-time defending champion Knights lit up the RORC scoreboard for five runs in the ninth inning on the way to a 6-3 win in both teams’ season openers.

“We got a lot of positives. This is a really good Knights team,” said Ridgefield starting pitcher Nick Bonn. “To compete this well with the Knights, I mean, we had the lead going into the ninth. … That’s a great start going forward and there’s a lot of positives.”

For a while, it appeared as if Bonn’s performance would be the highlight of opening night. In his first appearance with the Raptors, the right-handed pitcher from Pepperdine delivered 5 2/3 scoreless innings, allowing just one hit with eight strikeouts and one walk.

He exited to a nice ovation from the RORC crowd in the sixth inning with the Raptors leading 2-0 as the Raptors called on relief pitcher Joe Schwab.

“I felt really confident,” Bonn said. “I felt like I prepared myself really well going into it. That helped a lot. Just had everything really working for the most part. Splitter was a little iffy, but I was able to get through that.”

Ridgefield’s lead was still intact, though whittled down to one run entering the ninth.

Trouble started when Corvallis batter Blake Avila was hit in the back with a pitch thrown by Ridgefield’s Pressley Monteforte. Luke Thiele and Tyler Howard each followed with singles to load the bases with two outs.

From there, a Ridgefield fielding error allowed the tying run to score and Corvallis took the lead on a bases-loaded walk.

Ty Yukomoto added a sacrifice fly to give the Knights a two-run cushion. Tyler Quinn provided the dagger with a deep fly ball to the right field corner, charged as an error to outfielder Trent Prokes, allowing two more Knights runs to score.

In the bottom half of the inning, Ridgefield had runners on second and third base with no outs following a walk taken by Jack Salmon and Justin Stransky double.

Corvallis relief pitcher Zach Johnson was unfazed, striking out Cole Sheehan on the next at-bat before a Jake Tsukada sacrifice fly got one run back for Ridgefield. A Camden Oram ground out clinched a Knights win in their season opener.

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Corvallis, winners of six straight West Coast League championships, ended Ridgefield’s 2022 season with a 5-2 win in the WCL South Division Championship game.

The Raptors, however, took four of six games from the Knights during the regular season. They’ll have an opportunity to grab one on Saturday in game two of a three-game series. First pitch is scheduled for 6:35 p.m. at the RORC.

“(We’ve) just got to be a goldfish and look forward to tomorrow,” Bonn said.

Three moments

Brought to you by the bottom of the order – Ridgefield plated its first two runs in the bottom of the third set up by a pair of singles from Justin Stransky and Cole Sheehan, the Raptors’ No. 8 and 9 batters. Both eventually came home to score on a Jake Tsukada RBI ground out and an RBI double from Camden Oram, respectively.

Seamless transition – Bonn exited with two outs in the top of the sixth after walking his only batter of the game. Schwab came on and struck out Knights batter Sam Stem to finish off the top of the sixth.

Momentum shift – Although the Knights took the lead during a five-run ninth inning, their rally started when Jonathan Stone got on base with a walk, advanced to second on a passed ball and scored on Ty Yukomoto’s two-out RBI single.

Three players

Nick Bonn – The pitcher from Pepperdine made a great first impression in front of the Raptors’ crowd. Bonn threw 5 2/3 scoreless innings with eight strikeouts, one walk and held the Knights to just one hit.

Ty Yukomoto – The Knights’ leadoff hitter from Pacific University provided his team’s first run on an RBI single in the eighth, then added a sacrifice fly to bring in another run.

Tyler Quinn – Also hailing from Pacific University, Quinn had a team-high two RBI, both from a deep fly to right in the ninth that blew the game open for the Knights.

Three numbers

7 – Scoreless innings the Raptors had against the Knights before the visitors scored all six of their runs across the eighth and ninth.

11 – Strikeouts thrown by Raptors pitchers (eight by Bonn, two by Schwab and one by Pressley Monteforte).

1,029 – Ridgefield’s estimated attendance for its first game of the season, following Thursday’s exhibition against the Cowlitz Black Bears.

CORVALLIS 6, RIDGEFIELD 3

Corvallis 000 000 015—6 5 1

Ridgefield 002 000 001—3 7 3

Corvallis

Pitching – Merit Jones 4 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 3 K, 1 BB; Ethan Collins 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 2 K, 1 BB; Nathan Marshall 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 3 K, 1 BB; Zach Johnson 1 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 K, 1 BB. Highlights – Ty Yukumoto 1-4, RBI; Tyler Quinn 1-4, 2 RBI, SB; Blake Avila 1-3, 1 R; Luke Thiele 1-4, 1 R; Tyler Howard 1-4, 1 R; Jonathan Stone 1 R; Stanley Schoppe 1 R, RBI, SB.

Ridgefield

Pitching – Nick Bonn 5.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 8 K, 1 BB; Joe Schwab 2 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 2 K, 1 BB; Pressley Monteforte 0.2 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 1 K, 0 BB; Dylan Rush 0.2 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 0 K, 1 BB. Highlights – Jake Tsukada 1-2, 2 RBI; Camden Oram 1-4, 2B, RBI; Britton Beeson 1-3; Andy Ambriz 1-4; Justin Stransky 2-4, 2B, 1 R; Cole Sheehan 1-4, 1 R.

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