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News / Sports / Clark County Sports

Justin Stransky delivers big blow as Ridgefield Raptors rally to beat Cowlitz 10-4

Catcher belts three-run home run during seven-run seventh

By Tim Martinez, Columbian Assistant Sports Editor
Published: July 6, 2024, 11:17pm

RIDGEFIELD — The Ridgefield Raptors were looking for a big hit in the seventh inning Saturday night, even though they were managing just fine without one.

Still, Justin Stransky delivered the big blow.

The catcher belted a three-run home run, the big hit in a seven-run seventh as the Raptors rallied for a 10-4 win over the Cowlitz Black Bears at the RORC.

“I was just trying to get a ball in the air and try to get my guy to score from third,” Stransky said. “Glory to God right there. That one felt good.”

Even before Stransky came to the plate in the seventh, the Raptors managed to push across three runs without getting the ball out of the infield.

The Raptors opened the seventh by loading the bases on a hit batsman, an error on a sacrifice bunt attempt and an infield single on another bunt.

A fielder’s choice scored the first run. Two walks got the second run in, and a passed ball gave Ridgefield a 6-4 lead.

Then Stransky turned on an inside pitch and launched it over the left-field fence to make it 9-4.

“It was just a team effort,” said Stransky, who added an RBI single in the sixth inning to finish with four RBI. “Once you get nine guys bought in to an approach, we can light up a scoreboard.”

Stransky graduated from Emerald Ridge High School in Puyallup and played two seasons at Lower Columbia College before playing last spring at Fresno State. This is his second season with the Raptors.

“I love Ridgefield,” he said. “That’s why I wanted to come back. It’s a great spot. It has great fans, great environment, great coaches, great players. We’re just a family here. If I had another year (of eligibility), I’d come back here next year.”

Three moments

Third time is charm — With runners on first and second and no out in the seventh, Ridgefield’s Dasan Harris tried to sacrifice the runners into scoring position. But his first two bunt attempts went foul. Bunt attempts aren’t usually attempted with two strikes. But Harris dropped the perfect bunt between the mound and third, and the Black Bears were unable to record the force out at third.

Getting two, the weird way — The Black Bears pulled off an unusual double play to thwart the Raptors’ rally in the sixth inning. With the bases loaded, no outs and Cowlitz clinging to a 4-3 lead, Isaiah Chacon swung and missed on a third strike, but the ball squirted away from Cowlitz catcher Joe Reid. With the bases loaded, by rule, Chacon was out and none of the runners were required to advance. But Colby Wallace charged home from third. Reid chased down the ball and made a perfect throw to pitcher Isaac Vazquez for the out.

Ending comeback hopes — Cowlitz tried to start a rally of its own after falling behind in the eighth, putting two runners on with no out. But Ridgefield’s Quentin Moreland came in from the bullpen to retire all three batters he faced to end the threat.

Three players

Kyle Memarian — The Skyview grad went 2 for 3 with a run and an RBI. He was also hit by a pitch to start the seven-run seventh. Also on Saturday, it was announced that the Business Finance major made the Dean’s List at Gonzaga University for the spring term.

Hunter Katschke — The first baseman from Utah Tech was 2 for 5 with two runs and an RBI.

Quentin Moreland — The pitcher from Olympic College in Bremerton pitched two perfect innings with three strikeouts to close out the victory.

Three numbers

12 — Four Raptors pitchers combined to strike out 12 Black Bears.

2-0 — Friday marked the start of the second half of the West Coast League season. The Raptors are off to a 2-0 start for the final 28 games.

96 — Temperature at game time on Saturday. With temps forecasted to flirt again with the 100-degree mark, Sunday’s series finale will start at 6:35 p.m., a change from the original 1:05 p.m. scheduled start.