Ridgefield Raptors still preparing for the possibility of a summer baseball season
Spring baseball was taken away at the college and high school level, but If there is a summer season, a number of Clark County athletes will be playing in Clark County.
The Ridgefield Raptors announced Thursday the signing of former Columbia River High School standout Alex McGarry, who now plays for Oregon State.
McGarry is the eighth player from the county who has signed on to play for the Raptors, who compete in the West Coast League, a wood bat league for players with college eligibility.
“It’s huge to be able to continue to attract local talent to play in front of their home community,” said Gus Farah, the general manager of the Raptors. “To have a talent like Alex makes all the difference in the world to a new franchise looking to prove itself to its home base. We’re honored he would want to come play for us.”
McGarry shined in his first year with Oregon State, earning first-team, All-Pac 12 status after hitting .293 with and driving in 29 runs. This season, he off to a hot start before the pandemic took away the rest of the season. He drove in 13 runs in 14 games with three home runs and six doubles.
The Raptors are signing players in anticipation of a 2020 season even though they know it might not happen. Still, they have to be prepared.
“We are planning on having a season. We are waiting for further guidance from the government,” Farah said. “Once that guidance is official, then you will see feedback from the league.
“It’s about safety and health. We will follow the guidance and ensure our fans and community are safe,” he added. “Our final decisions will be based around health concerns of the community.”
One team in the West Coast League has already called off the season. The Bellingham Bells are not allowed to use its stadium through the end of August due to its city’s response to the pandemic.
The Raptors and the rest of the teams in the WCL are in a wait-and-see mode. Not necessarily optimistic, but preparing for some length of a season just in case.
That includes a number of players with local ties.
Daniel Copeland of Gonzaga and Michael Copeland of Central Washington University, two brothers who shined at Skyview High School, have signed with the Raptors.
Daniel Copeland would have been an original Raptor — the franchise debuted in 2019 — but an injury kept him off the diamond.
“I was able to attend a few games last summer as a spectator, and the crowd at the RORC was electric,” Copeland said in a press release, referring to the Ridgefield Outdoor Recreation Complex. “This is going to be an amazing experience for me, and I can’t wait to come out and compete for my hometown crowd.”
Two of the biggest names in what would have been a high school baseball season this year are also hopeful for a summer season.
Cooper Barnum of Skyview, who has signed with Washington State, and Riley Sinclair of Camas, who has signed with Seattle University, are Raptors.
Hayden Minich, who played for Mountain View and now pitches for Mt. Hood Community College, will return to the Raptors. He went 4-1 with the Raptors last summer.
Brian Rice, like McGarry a former Columbia River Chieftain, is a Raptor, too. Rice played at Mount Hood Community College before moving to a four-year college, the University of Jamestown in North Dakota.
Ryan Pitts, a former Skyview Storm who now plays for Lower Columbia College, also is a Raptor.
The West Coast League is in a holding pattern for now. The Raptors are hoping for a season, hoping local fans will be able to come out and support local talent.