RIDGEFIELD — An unconventional win, but a win nonetheless.
The Ridgefield Raptors won’t get many style points for their 6-5 victory over the Edmonton Riverhawks, in which the Raptors scored two runs via bases-loaded walks in the bottom of the ninth inning to end the game.
But, after getting swept by the Corvallis Knights and dropping a non-league game Monday to the Redmond Dudes, grabbing their first West Coast League win of the season Tuesday at Ridgefield Outdoor Complex was a welcome sight for the Raptors.
“We just got to keep grinding,” Ridgefield catcher Isaac Lovings said. “We had some moments where we could’ve put a lot more (runs) up. We just got to have a little more focus at the plate, a little more competitive at-bats, but for the most part, we locked it in today. It’s good improvement to see after the last couple games, and it’s very promising going into the rest of the season.”
The lead changed hands six times between two teams looking for their first win of the season, including the sixth inning when Ridgefield clean-up hitter Andy Allanson provided an RBI double to score Jake Tsukada and give the Raptors a 4-3 lead.
Allanson, Lovings and Tsukada each finished with two hits to lead the Raptors (1-3).
The lead was safe for two innings thanks to a strong outing from relief pitcher Cale Mathison, who struck out five of seven batters faced and kept Ridgefield in front entering the ninth inning.
The Raptors’ fortunes changed when Edmonton (0-4) got two runners on against pitcher Joe Schwab with no outs. Jakob Poturnak then put through a base hit to bring home the tying run.
After Schwab committed an error on a throw to first to load the bases, Ridgefield pulled Schwab in favor of Ross Goldschlag.
Edmonton’s Will Gardner got a fly ball to drop in left field for an RBI base hit, putting Edmonton ahead 5-4.
Goldschlag got a strikeout for the third out, limiting the Riverhawks’ damage to two runs in the frame.
Five Ridgefield pitchers appeared in Tuesday’s game, and all but one of them, starter Eastyn Culp, are in their first year with the Raptors. Early in the season, with few practice days in between games, pitchers and catchers need time to get adjusted to each other, Lovings said.
“New group where we’ve only had one small practice day and we only had two guys who threw,” Lovings said. “I’m figuring it out on my own, I’m using my off days down in the bullpen to figure these guys out, what they do, what they have, what they like to throw. Some of that happens in games too. It happened today too. But, we’re getting there.”
In the bottom of the ninth, Trent Prokes provided a single to get the tying run on base with one out. Jeff Hoffman and Jack Salmon were each hit by pitches that loaded the bases and brought up the top of the order. There, Tsukada and Julian Nunez each took ball fours, plating Prokes and Hoffman for the walk-off win.
The Raptors were patient in their approach at the end of the game, yielding their first win of the season. It’s a mindset the Raptors are trying to stick with during the opening weeks of the season with a new group.
“We understood that it was the beginning of the season,” said Lovings, who, in his fourth season with the Raptors, is the longest-tenured player on the team. “Starting with (June 1 against) Cowlitz, it was a 13-day stretch with no off days, no prep work, so we were figuring it out on the fly. I like to think of those games as trial and error, because everyone is figuring it out how we mesh together, and I think we’re coming together right now.”
Another fast start – Edmonton struck first on a Jonny McGill RBI single in the top of the opening inning, but the Raptors were quick to respond in the bottom half. Tristan Gomes and Isaac Lovings provided RBI base hits to give the Raptors a 2-1 lead.
Costly error – Needing one out to finish off the fourth, Ridgefield third baseman Andy Ambriz fielded an Edmonton ground ball and his throw sailed over Gomes at first. The error allowed Tommy Takayoshi to score, before Daniel Calabrese followed with an RBI single to put the Riverhawks ahead 3-2.
Pitching out of trouble – Left-handed pitcher Pressley Monteforte was the first out of Ridgefield’s bullpen to replace Culp after four innings of work. In the sixth, Monteforte faced some traffic with runners on second and third base with one out. The lefty responded with a strikeout and ground out to finish off the frame unscathed.
Jake Tsukada – Ridgefield’s leadoff hitter from University of Portland went 2-for-3 with a double, scored two runs and got on base in four of five plate appearances.
Andy Allanson – The College of the Canyons switch hitter provided a pair of doubles, including sixth inning RBI double to put the Raptors ahead 4-3.
Cale Mathison – Fresh out of Ridgefield’s bullpen, Mathison (Masters) struck out the Edmonton side in the seventh inning to keep the Raptors’ lead intact. Mathison finished with five strikeouts and one hit allowed.
4 – Games Ridgefield has scored a first-inning run in five attempts so far this season.
3.6 – Average runs scored per game by the Raptors. Tuesday’s six runs were a season high.
10 – Pitchers who appeared in the game, five from each team.
RIDGEFIELD 6, EDMONTON 5
Edmonton 100 200 002—5 12 2
Ridgefield 200 101 002—5 8 4
Pitching – Michael Ridsdale 2 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 1 K, 2 BB; Conall Sexton 1 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 0 K, 3 BB; Dallin Harrison 4 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 4 K, 2 BB; Shaun Atamanchuk 1.1 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 K, 0 BB; Heath Hachkowski 0 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 0 K, 1 BB. Highlights – Dylan Calabrese 1-4, 1 R, RBI; Jack Wheatley 2-5, 2 R, SB; Jakob Poturnak 1-5, RBI; Jonny McGill 3-5, RBI; Mark Ossanna 2-5; Will Gardner 1-5, RBI; Tommy Takayoshi 2-3, 1 R; Ren Yokoyama 1 R, 2 SB.
Pitching – Eastyn Culp 4 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 3 K, 0 BB; Pressley Monteforte 2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 K, 1 BB; Cale Mathison 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 5 K, 0 BB; Joe Schwab 0 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 0 K, 0 BB; Ross Goldschlag 1 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 1 K, 0 BB. Highlights – Jake Tsukada 2-3, 2 R, RBI, 2 SB; Britton Beeson 1 R, RBI; Andy Allanson 2-5, 2 2B, RBI; Tristan Gomes 1-5, RBI; Isaac Lovings 2-4, RBI; Trent Prokes 1-3, 1 R; Jack Salmon 1 R.