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News / Sports / Clark County Sports

Ridgefield Raptors run win streak to five, beat Walla Walla 7-1

Colby Wallace's three-run homer highlights six-run fifth inning

By Micah Rice, Columbian Sports Editor
Published: July 10, 2024, 10:16pm

RIDGEFIELD – Over the past week’s heat wave, the Ridgefield Raptors have taken their pregame batting practice indoors.

In there, they’ve found their hitting stroke.

Colby Wallace’s three-run home run highlighted a six-run fifth inning as the Raptors beat the Walla Walla Sweets 7-1 on Wednesday at the Ridgefield Outdoor Recreation Complex.

It’s the fifth straight win for Ridgefield (15-16), which improved to 5-0 in the second half of the West Coast League season.

Before the current streak, Ridgefield’s offense had languished. The team’s batting average of .229 was ranked 16th out of 17 teams.

Over the last five games, the Raptors have averaged 9.4 runs and are hitting .319 over that stretch.

“I think it’s the chemistry,” Wallace said. “These guys are all gelling together. We’re having fun out here. When you’re having fun in baseball, good things happen.”

Wallace, a left-handed outfielder from Cal State Fullerton, launched a 1-1 pitch onto the berm behind the right field fence for his first homer of the season. That two-out blast drove in Julien Nunez and Justin Stransky to put the Raptors ahead 6-1.

“They put in the lefty, so in my mind I tried to keep it simple,” Wallace said. “I trusted my hands. When he threw that fastball, I was ready for it.”

Wallace, who joined Ridgefield on July 4, also doubled in the second inning for his first multi-hit game of the season.

Three moments

You’re outta here – Walla Walla head coach Jarrod Molnaa was ejected after a long argument in the middle of the fourth. At issue, the Sweets’ third out occurred when the batter was tagged out in front of first. Molnaa argued that his runner at third base crossed home plate before the tag, so the run should count. But the rule was applied correctly. The batter must be safe at first for any run to score on a play where the third out is recorded.

Hard-earned run – It probably wasn’t the way Julian Nunez wanted to put Ridgefield on the board, but he can take pride in starting a six-run inning. Nunez was hit in the helmet by a pitch with the bases loaded in the bottom of the fifth. The Raptors went on to send 10 batters to the plate with Nunez scoring on Wallace’s three-run homer.

Shutdown pen – After Ridgefield’s breakout fifth inning, Connor Abadie kept Walla Walla from creeping back into the game. He stranded two runners in the sixth and pitched two scoreless innings. He and Joseph Jasso, who pitched two innings, have yet to allow a run in a combined nine innings of relief.

Three players

Cole Tryba – The Ridgefield lefty from UC Santa Barbara pitched five solid innings, earning the win. Tryba allowed two hits, three walks and one run in his third start of the season. He lowered his earned-run average to 2.51 through 14 1/3 innings.

Luke Iverson – One day after being selected to the West Coast League mid-summer classic, the Ridgefield outfielder showed all-star caliber defense. He made a leaping catch as he crashed into the center field fence to end the bottom of the second. Iverson also went 2 for 4, raising his batting average to .333.

Richard Tejada – The Raptors catcher went 2 for 3, including an RBI single in the seventh inning. The USC product has hit safely in nine of his last 11 games and raised his batting average to .281.

Three numbers

11 – Ridgefield’s longest winning streak last season. Stretching from June 14-25, it stands as the longest win streak in the franchise’s five seasons.

7 – Raptors players who are hitting .300 or better over the past seven days. That include three players (Iverson, Stranskey and Dasan Harris) who are hitting over .400.

47-20 – Margin that Ridgefield has outscored its opponents during its current win streak.