Hot Raptors take opener from Pickles
The Portland Pickles opened a six-game homestand with a 3-1 loss Tuesday night to the expansion Ridgefield Raptors.
The Raptors outhit the Pickles 12-7, and had no errors as they improved to 5-2 and strengthened their hold on second place in the West Coast League South Division.
Ridgefield is 5-2 and on a five-game winning streak. Portland is third in the South at 3-4.
"Right now, breaks aren't going our way," Portland coach Justin Barchus said.
Games 2 and 3 in the series are 7 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday at Walker Stadium.
The Raptors took the lead in the second inning on a first-pitch home run by shortstop Jonny Weaver. It came off Portland's Calvin Schapira (0-1), a 6-5 left-hander from USC.
"I was throwing first-pitch fastball pretty much the whole time the first time around the lineup, and he was sitting on it and put a good swing on it," Schapira said.
Weaver's RBI single in the third gave Ridgefield a 3-0 lead.
Portland had two errors, both by second baseman Cole Roberts (Loyola Marymount). An errant throw to second base cost a run in the Raptors' two-run third inning.
Schapira injured a heel in that inning and exited after having allowed four hits and two walks, with three strikeouts
The Pickles have committed 10 errors in their past three games.
"Each is its own entity," Barchus said. "Some of it's physical, but just because you make a physical error doesn't mean it's completely physical. You have to put yourself in the best position to make that play."
Roberts also had a bad throw in the fourth that got Cameron Repetti on base, and a miscommunication between shortstop Alex Lambeau (LMU) and left fielder John Arndorfer (Notre Dame, ex-Jesuit High) resulted in a hit for the Raptors in the seventh.
The Pickles scored in the fourth on an RBI single by Chase Lutrell (Long Beach State). The left fielder was back in the lineup after dealing with a shoulder injury and performed well, going 2 for 4, with another single in the seventh.
"I was trying to stay on the fastball," said Lutrell, who said he felt about 95% healthy and took advantage of a changeup on one of his hits.
The Pickles are dealing with other injuries. Arndorfer, a member of the 2016 state championship Jesuit team, developed a groin injury in the fifth game and has been playing through it. Infielder Brendan Power (Tulane) hasn't played since hurting his back in the opening series against the Port Angeles Lefties.
"It's unique because normally these things would happen later in the summer," Barchus said. "We've got to fight our way through."
Also, new arrival Darius Perry injured a thumb warming up on Tuesday. The catcher from La Mirada, California played five innings before the pain became too much.
"I got jammed on an inside fastball," Perry said. "I hurt it in the bullpen, and it just kept getting worse."
Perry went 0 for 2 at the plate and struck out once, but he had a solid play in the fifth inning to get a runner out at home.
Perry is expected to be a valuable member of the Pickles this season. The Colorado Rockies drafted the UCLA commit in the 38th round of this month's MLB draft.
"He's a good player," Barchus said. "In batting practice, he looks good, and I think he'll supply us some power."
When deciding whether to forego his summer season with the Pickles, Perry said the decision was easy.
"I was really set on going to school, so it would take a lot for me to sign right out of high school," Perry said. "I was planning on playing for the Pickles all throughout the draft unless something crazy happened."
Ridgefield starter Michael Spellacy (1-0), a Gonzaga sophomore this year, gave up one run on five hits and four walks over five innings, with four strikeouts.
It wasn't all doom and gloom for the Pickles. Barchus said he was pleased that at least his team got seven hits.
"Our bats were better," he said, "You hit the ball harder and sometimes those breaks will go your way."
"We showed that the offense is getting a little better," Lutrell said. "I think overall, even though we lost, we're taking a step in the right direction."
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