Ridgefield Raptors have known for a month that they would be in the playoffs, and team administrators are hoping that will make for a big crowd Wednesday
RIDGEFIELD — The crowds have been strong all year for the Ridgefield Raptors.
Now the fans, as well as the team, are about to be rewarded.
It’s time for playoff baseball.
The Ridgefield Raptors open the West Coast League playoffs Tuesday in Portland against the Pickles and will be home Wednesday night for Game 2 of the best-of-three series. First pitch for Wednesday’s game is 6:36 p.m. If a Game 3 is needed, it will be at the Ridgefield Outdoor Recreation Complex, as well.
What a difference a year makes.
In 2022, the Raptors made the playoffs on the last weekend of the second half of the regular season. They had pretty much one day to market playoff tickets.
This year, the Raptors won the first-half title of the regular season, ensuring they would make the playoffs.
“I was super excited,” said Gus Farah, the general manager of the Raptors. “It gave me a chance to talk about the playoffs with 20-some games to go, where before I had to wait until the last day of the year to sell tickets.”
To be fair, the Raptors faithful showed up in 2022. It was not only a playoff game, but there was a playoff atmosphere at The RORC.
“We had a great night because people followed it and came out,” Farah said.
This year, though, the marketing started a month ago.
“I got a chance to really get organized and sell playoff tickets upfront,” Farah said. “We got T-shirts, too, things like that I can’t do on the last day.”
Yes, fans can purchase their Ridgefield Raptors playoff shirts on Wednesday.
Might want to get there early, though. Because of the early clinching of this year’s playoffs, that marketing team went to work. The Cowlitz Indian Tribe is presenting the Raptors in this year’s playoffs, and the team got six or seven other sponsors as well.
It’s playoff time. Go big or go home.
As of last week, Farah said the Raptors had already sold 1,100 tickets to Wednesday’s game.
And there is a possibility of a Thursday game, too, if the series goes to three games. The Raptors have not sold any tickets for that game.
“I’ll deal with that if it happens,” Farah said.
He is not worried, though. If there is a Thursday game, he still expects a large crowd, even at a day’s notice.
Jake Tsukada, who finished fourth in the West Coast League this season in batting average at .349, remembers what it was like last year, when the Raptors only had a day to prepare for the playoffs.
“That was a big reason I came back,” he said, noting the enthusiasm. “The fans, the guys, and the coaching staff. It’s really fun to be here and play baseball.”
He is looking forward to Wednesday’s home game.
“It’s been a long season and playoffs is what we play for, so I hope the people come out and watch us,” Tsukada said.
Nick Allen, an assistant coach for the Raptors and the head coach of the Ridgefield Spudders high school year, said the relationship between the Raptors and the region is special.
“I love what the Raptors bring to Clark County in general,” Allen said. “You get to see people from all over the county, and the way that we are selling good baseball. I hope those kids who are wearing Battle Ground Little League hats, or Ridgefield Little League, or Camas … you see kids from all over the county … I hope that they are wanting to be a Raptor.
“That’s why I love being a part of this thing. We are selling baseball to our community,” Allen continued. “And not just Ridgefield but the entire county. I think that’s a really cool thing to be a part of, in a place that is so tight-knit to begin with.”
Allen has been with the Raptors since the team’s inception. He appreciates the passion from the fans, and how they have grown with the team.
“The crowds have been great all year. They’re more into it. There is more energy from the crowd,” Allen said. “Hope they bring that. C’mon Clark County, it’s time to go. We’ve been waiting a month for this. Let’s get here. Let’s pack it against the Pickles.”
Note: To purchase playoff tickets online, to go: https://ridgefieldraptors.com/
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