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Home runs fly, Ridgefield Raptors soar to 8-5 win over Cowlitz Black Bears

Raptors push win streak to four games ahead of series finale Sunday

By Will Denner, Columbian staff writer
Published: June 17, 2023, 10:11pm

RIDGEFIELD — To keep an already successful week going in the right direction, the Ridgefield Raptors took flight.

Three home runs in the hitter-friendly yard at Ridgefield Outdoor Recreation Complex, including two by Britton Beeson, accounted for half of the Raptors’ runs in an 8-5 win over the Cowlitz Black Bears.

None was more important than Beeson’s second home run in the seventh inning, a two-run blast to left field that capped a five-run inning, during which Ridgefield also scored on an error, balk and Justin Stransky RBI single.

Beeson had gone without a hit in three starts earlier in the week against the Portland Pickles, but Saturday night brought out his best.

“It was an evolution of the hard work I was putting in,” Beeson said. “Even though I was struggling for a little bit, I just kept working. I stayed persistent with it and I trusted my abilities. Tonight was just the night to come out.”

When all the damage was done, the Raptors (8-6) turned 5-3 deficit midway through the seventh into a three-run cushion, which was enough to seal to their fourth straight win.

After giving up three runs in the top of the seventh, Ridgefield pitcher Pressley Monteforte threw two scoreless innings, including a game-ending strikeout.

With the arrival of nine new players this week ahead of the home series against Cowlitz (5-9) and a couple more on the way in the coming days, the Raptors are close to a complete team.

Their additions, combined with a group of day-one players getting better acquainted with each other, are allowing the Raptors to play free.

“I think it’s just a matter of us getting comfortable together,” Beeson said. “At the beginning, we were just a bunch of random guys that were good at their schools … I think the road trip (last week to Walla Walla) really helped because we all got to stay at one hotel and become friends. Right when we came back, we started winning, and I think it’s because we’re all comfortable with each other.”

Another encouraging sign — the Raptors’ bats are starting to come to life after a slow start. On top of a 7-6 win over the Black Bears on Friday, the 15 combined runs are the most of any two-game stretch this season.

“It’s just how deep our lineup is, and no matter who’s hitting, they have the ability to change the game at that point,” Beeson said.

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The Raptors will go for the series sweep Sunday with the first pitch scheduled for 1:05 p.m.

Three moments

Living on the edge – With Ridgefield starting pitcher Jake Geis on the mound, Cowlitz loaded the bases in each of the first two innings, but the Raptors got out of both jams unscathed. A double play ended the top of the first. In the second, Ridgefield catcher Justin Stransky threw out a Cowlitz runner at first base for the third out.

Beeson goes yard (twice) – Ridgefield took a 1-0 lead in the second inning on Britton Beeson’s solo home run to right field. He hit his second homer as part of a five-run seventh inning that put the game out of reach.

Seventh-inning surge – Cowlitz began the seventh with base hits from Eli Lopez and Ethan Mann, before Ian Riley hit a high chopper to bring in the tying run. Grant Jay followed with a two-run home run that gave the Black Bears a brief 5-3 lead.

Three players

Justin Stransky – The catcher and Fresno State signee was a force on both sides of the ball. A 3-for-5 effort included two doubles and two RBI, both of which swung momentum toward the Raptors when they were trailing.

Nick Seamons – In his second game with the Raptors, the Lewis-Clark State player went 2-for-4 with a solo home run.

Britton Beeson – The Fullerton College product broke out of a three-game hitless streak with a pair of home runs at the RORC, giving him a team-high three for the season.

Three numbers

5 – Home runs for Ridgefield in the series against Cowlitz.

9 – New players who joined the Raptors this week: Nicklaus, Seamons, Reiss Calvin, Scott, Joseph Jasso, Sawyer Parkin, Jake Geis, Peysen Sweeney and Tyler Horner.

3 – Wins for Ridgefield against Cowlitz in the seven-game season series. The first team to four wins earns the Columbia River Cup.

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