The Ridgefield Raptors finished their inaugural year in the West Coast League in fifth place with a record of 27-27 after playing a total of 54 games in 60 days.
Raptors General Manager Gus Farah said the Raptors finished out the season “fantastic.”
“They hung in there and when other teams were tired and fatigued at the end, we had a really good last two weeks,” said Farah, who noted the team was two wins away from making the West Coast League (WCL) playoffs. The league takes the top two teams from the North and South regions.
Farah also talked about how the WCL is great practice for the players on the team to experience what traveling for sports is like.
“It is not just about how many hits they got,” Farah said, explaining how, for some players, the WCL is their first time away from home for an extended period of time. “There was a limited amount of days off and I think it was important for us to watch their health and mental health.”
Farah felt that this “eagle eye” on health and mental health was one of the biggest keys to the team’s endurance this season.
While Farah felt the record was important, he was sure to note the Southwest Washington community and its positive response to having the new team nearby. He feels this inaugural season accomplished building the family atmosphere they wanted and laid a “great foundation” for years to come in Ridgefield.
“That’s a heck of a start,” Farah said after mentioning how the Raptors had the fifth-highest attendance out of 12 teams. “Southwest Washington reacted really well to this.”
Farah said some of his favorite moments throughout the season included opening night, Sunday Funday and the host families.
“We can’t do it without the host families,” he said.
As for next year, Farah said that management for the team can “slow down a little” now that the team has officially launched. He hopes the Raptors can become more involved in the community.
“The feedback we are getting and that we have gotten is that we have presented a community-oriented entertainment option,” Farah said. “It’s super important that we are visible and we give back to the community.”
Community is a big part of Farah’s goals for the Raptors. He said this year the Raptors offered girls softball camps, and he hopes to get boys baseball camps started next year as well. He hopes to work with chambers of commerce and city representatives in the area to make the team feel more at home.
“This team belongs to all of Southwest Washington and we just want to say a big thank you,” Farah said. “We’ve had a successful first year and we couldn’t have done it without them.”