Knights show why they are revered in West Coast League

first_imgKnights show why they are revered in West Coast League Win over Ridgefield Raptors moves Corvallis closer to first-half title Meg Wochnick Columbian staff writer Ridgefield Raptors catcher Steve Ramirez, left, waits for a throw from the outfield as the Corvallis Knights’ Brooks Lee scores. Photo Gallery 2 Photos Share: RIDGEFIELD — It’s only their inaugural season as a West Coast League franchise, but the Ridgefield Raptors hope, in time, to become the elite that the Corvallis Knights have become.The Knights are winners of six WCL titles in the league’s 14-year history, including three straight.This weekend’s series at the Ridgefield Outdoor Recreation Complex ends the first half of the league season. And the series is big for the Knights since Friday’s 6-2 win over the Raptors means they’re one step closer this weekend to clinching another South Division title, and an automatic August playoff berth.The two teams continue their series at 6:35 p.m. Saturday.Four teams qualify for the postseason in mid-August. In 2016, WCL officials revised the league’s playoff system by creating first- and second division champions for its split-season format. 3 key momentsSix baserunners, zero runs — The Raptors twice had the bases loaded Friday, but failed to score. Their best chance came in the fifth trailing 4-2 and loaded the bases with no outs. Knights reliever William Kempner (Valley Christian High School) struck out Cameron Repetti (Cal State Fullerton) and Michael Hicks (Boise State) and got Skyview grad Brody Barnum (WSU) to fly out to end the inning.“It’s a dagger in the back,” Hoffman said of the fifth and eighth innings stranding six baserunners. “We tried so hard, coach tell us to have ice water right now — just let things roll off our back.”2 errors, 2 runs — Ridgefield made back-to-back infield errors in the fifth inning, including a two-base error on Brooks Lee’s RBI single to right field that gave Corvallis the lead for good. The Knights scored three runs in the fifth.Martin gets out of a jam — Raptors starter Joey Martin got out of a two-out, bases-loaded jam to end the fourth inning. He allowed three walks in the inning, but got No. 9 hitter Michael Dixson to fly out to right to keep it a 2-1 Ridgefield lead. Since then, Corvallis has won the WCL every year.Raptors infielder Wyatt Hoffman (University of the Pacific) had an RBI single as one of Ridgefield’s four hits Friday. He’s a WCL newbie, but understands how the playoff format can benefit the Raptors (13-12) — hitting the restart button for the second half.If a first-half team champion also wins the second half, the team with the next-best record earns a playoff spot.“We have to, as a group, revise our goals for what we want from the summer,” Hoffman said, “and go from there.”Corvallis (19-6) swept the Raptors in their three-game series at Goss Stadium last week in a winning streak that’s now turned into 13 consecutive WCL games after Friday. The Knights took the lead for good with a three-run fifth inning. That inning, Ridgefield committed two infield errors that led to two unearned runs. By signing up you are agreeing to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service. Receive latest stories and local news in your email: (360) 735-4521center_img @MegWochnick GO 3 — Raptors catcher Steve Ramirez threw out three Corvallis baserunners attempting to steal. Two came in the first inning, and the third came in the fifth when Corvallis took its 4-2 lead.2 — The Knights’ pitching staff held Ridgefield to just two hits after the second inning. Of its four total hits, two came in the second inning. 3 key playersJoey Martin — The Kansas State product threw 4.1 innings, allowed just one earned run on four hits but walked five.Brooks Lee — Corvallis’ clean-up hitter went 3 for 4 and his RBI single, followed by a two-base error made by Ridgefield’s Noah Taylor in right field gave Corvallis the lead for good in the fifth inning.Jake Holcroft — Corvallis’ lead-off hitter pushed his batting average to .357, tied for fifth best league-wide. He went 2 for 3 and scored two runs.3 key numbers13 — Corvallis, with the league’s best record at 19-6, extended its WCL win streak to 13 games and 15 games overall. The Knights haven’t dropped a game since June 20. Follow By Meg Wochnick, Columbian staff writer Published: July 5, 2019, 11:08pm Follow The Columbian on Instagram Share: [email protected]last_img