A crowd of over 2,000 fans gathered for the opening night of Ridgefield’s new West Coast League baseball team the Ridgefield Raptors on June 4 at the Ridgefield Outdoor Recreation Complex (RORC).
Before the game, a line of over 150 people waited in the heat to get into the complex to support their new team in its inaugural game against the Yakima Valley Pippins.
“I’m looking forward to the kids having a great year,” Ridgefield Mayor Don Stose said before the game. “When you reach this level, they (the players) all want to go to the big leagues, so it’s a competition — they all want to look good.”
And look good they did.
As fans sat in their seats with hamburgers, pulled pork sandwiches and new Raptors fan gear, the Raptors took the field at 6:30 p.m. to hear Miss Washington Outstanding Teen Payton May sing the National Anthem. Following a “fly-by” visit from Rally the Raptor, Mayor Don Stose threw the inaugural first pitch.
The inaugural night also included a fireworks show and selfies with Rally.
“I think it’s a great opportunity for the community to come together and just enjoy themselves in this town that is transforming,” Ridgefield City Councilor Jennifer Lindsay said. “This is the essence of community.”
The game started tense, with the Pippins logging the first hit of the night in the top of the first inning.
The Raptors kept the game scoreless until Grayson Sterling recorded the first hit in Raptors history with a single in the third inning. Johnny Weaver hit a single later in the inning bringing Sterling to third. Following this, Weaver stole second while Justin Boyd was at bat allowing Sterling to steal home for the first run for the Raptors franchise.
The Pippins fought back, logging three runs in the top of the fifth inning making the game 3-1 until Cameron Repetti of the Raptors brought in a run after three base hits by his team making the score 3-2.
Dominic Enbody of the Raptors tied the game up in a fancy fashion when he slammed a ball out of the park in bottom of the sixth after two outs had been logged, sending the crowd into a frenzy and popcorn into the air.
The Raptors soon gave the crowd another reason to cheer by sending Spencer Anderson, Ridgefield High School Senior and Lower Columbia College commit, to the mound in the top of the seventh.
Anderson pitched two strikeouts and a ground out for a perfect inning, but the Pippins logged another run in the top of the eighth bringing the final score to 4-3.