Written by Raptors Broadcaster Patrick McColl

After a sweep of the Cowlitz Black Bears, the Ridgefield Raptors welcome the Walla Walla Sweets to the south side of Washington. The three-game series against Walla Walla starts on Tuesday night at 7:30 p.m. at the Ridgefield Outdoor Recreation Complex (RORC).

Ridgefield found ways to get better with each game against Cowlitz, winning by a bigger margin with each game in the series. After an 8-5 win on Friday, the ‘Raps dropped seven runs in the seventh inning in Game 2 to win 10-4. Then, Ridgefield put up a season-high 16 runs on Sunday to win by eight, giving the Raptors a sweep and a 3-0 record to begin the second half of the West Coast League (WCL) season.

Outfielder and first baseman Hunter Katschke leads the Raptors in batting average (.356). Infielder Brody Mills hit his first two home runs of the season last week and is catching stride with catcher Luke Iverson. The Utah Valley Wolverine was recently selected to play in the All-Star Game in Bellingham and paces the ‘Raps with 20 RBI.

Pepperdine starter Dylan Stewart leads the Raptors with 25 innings this summer. The 6-foot-5 right-hander is third in the WCL in ERA (1.44). In the bullpen, go-to relievers Quentin Moreland and Damian Pantoya did not allow a run to the Black Bears this weekend in a combined three innings of work.

Walla Walla is the last opponent on Ridgefield’s schedule this season and may prove to be a significant test when the Raptors travel to Walla Walla in August. For now, however, the Sweets are just 9-20 and will need to take advantage of the four off days the team had last week. In their last series, the Sweets hosted the Pickles at Borleske Stadium from July 1 to July 3 and were swept by Portland.

California native Stephen Hom has played in 24 games and is hitting .345, slashing eight doubles alongside nine RBI. The senior has stolen eight bases, third most on the team. Two Walla Walla starters have pitched 29 innings (Zach Hangas and Liam Hohenstein) but the Sweets have a team ERA of 5.19 to Ridgefield’s 4.43 ERA.

Tuesday’s start time was rescheduled, moving from 6:35 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. to compensate for the higher temperatures in the area. The games on Wednesday and Thursday are still set to start at 6:35 p.m.

Tickets to the home series against Walla Walla at the RORC are available on ridgefieldraptors.com. The live stream to watch or listen to the games will be available on ridgefieldraptors.com/stream. #GoRaps