RIDGEFIELD — All good things must come to an end.
On Wednesday, that meant the conclusion of the Ridgefield Raptors’ 11-game winning streak, as well as the final appearance by the team’s longest-tenured player, Isaac Lovings.
Ridgefield dropped a 5-3 decision to the Bend Elks at Ridgefield Outdoor Recreation Complex after giving up four runs in the third inning and trying to play catch up from there.
Though the Raptors (15-7) produced 10 hits and had several runners in scoring position, the big inning never came.
They came up empty after loading the bases in the eighth when Bend’s Ryan Rembisz struck out a pair of Ridgefield batters to get out of the jam.
The Raptors’ final chance in the ninth yielded one run on a Jake Tsukada sacrifice fly, but the next batter, Quincy Scott, grounded into a 4-6-3 double play to end the game.
The Elks (8-12) snapped a five-game losing skid, four of which came against Ridgefield.
“We just went on an 11-game win streak. We seemed to be getting those hits every time that it mattered. Sometimes you just don’t get it, and that’s baseball,” Ridgefield’s Jackson Nicklaus said. “We had a lot of runners left on base and that’s on us as an offense. … Nobody’s really to blame, it’s just part of (baseball).”
The streak is now history. However, the Raptors’ experience over the past two weeks will carry on.
“Winning is contagious,” Nicklaus said. “You get that kind of belief that you’re going to win. … We were kind of surprised when we just lost, you know? We thought that we were going to get the big hit, we thought that we were going to get things rolling. It’s a good thing to have when you’re surprised when you lose.”
Nicklaus had a team-high four hits for Ridgefield, which also got two hits from Corey Nunez and one each from Trent Prokes, Tristan Gomez, Andy Ambriz and Lovings.
During pre-game introductions, Ridgefield announced Lovings would be making his final start with the Raptors before traveling to Utah State University, where he transferred to play in his final year of college baseball.
Lovings played in every season with the Raptors starting in their inaugural 2019 campaign and was instrumental during the Raptors’ run to the WCL South Division Championship last season. Lovings appeared in 33 games, hitting .211 with five home runs and 27 RBI.
Errors lead to runs – Ridgefield capitalized on a pair of Bend throwing errors to first base in the opening frame when Reiss Calvin reached third, then scored on a Scott ground ball.
Taking the lid off – One night after being held to one run with 14 runners left on base, Bend exploded for four runs in the fourth to take a 5-2 lead. Niko Rosell delivered a two-run double, before Kody Watanabe drove in two more runs on a base hit against Ridgefield starting pitcher Eastyn Culp.
One, two, three – A scoring opportunity presented itself when Ridgefield led off the fifth inning with a walk and Jackson Nicklaus base hit. Bend relief pitcher Kaden Hogan then went right to work with three straight strikeouts to strand two Raptors runners.
Isaac Lovings – In his final game with the Raptors, the Utah Valley-bound catcher went 1-for-3 with an RBI on a sacrifice fly in the third inning.
Ethan Thomas – On the heels of a three-hit outing in the series opener, Bend’s Thomas (Utah) went 2-for-4 with an RBI to continue a strong stretch of play.
Jackson Nicklaus – The Oklahoma product was a bright spot for Ridgefield’s offense with a 4-for-5 effort in the leadoff spot.
25– Strikeouts thrown by Bend pitchers through two games of the series against Ridgefield.
15 – Days since Ridgefield’s last loss. The 11-game win streak started with a 4-2 win over the Portland Pickles on June 14 and came to an end Wednesday.
22 – Consecutive games Ridgefield infielder and leadoff hitter Jake Tsukada has played in to begin the season. Though Tsukada didn’t start Wednesday, he still made an appearance as a pinch hitter and delivered a ninth-inning sacrifice fly to bring Ridgefield within two runs.