RIDGEFIELD, Wash. — A clutch relief performance by William Klempner carried the Corvallis Knights to a 6-2 win over Ridgefield on Friday night in a West Coast League game at the Ridgefield Outdoor Recreation Complex.
The future Gonzaga freshman entered the game in the fifth inning with no outs and the bases loaded. He struck out the first two batters and got the third out on a fly ball to preserve a 4-2 lead.
Kempner then retired the next six batters in order before being relieved to start the eighth inning. He finished with six strikeouts and maintained his 0.00 ERA in 11⅔ innings over six appearances.
The Knights (25-6, 19-6) stretched their WCL winning streak to 13 games.
Corvallis upped its lead in the first-half South Division pennant race to 1.5 games over Walla Walla. The Sweets were rained out at Kelowna on Friday so they have three games remaining, the Knights two.
The first-half champion receives an automatic playoff berth and home-field advantage in the divisional round. Walla Walla has the tiebreaker.
Third baseman Brooks Lee had three hits, two runs and two RBIs for Corvallis. Right fielder Elliot Willy drove in two runs, shortstop Michael Curialle one.
Starter Brodie Cooper-Vassalakis allowed two runs in four innings but loaded the bases with no outs in the fifth, bringing on Kempner. He had one strikeout and five walks.
Abbott Haffar pitched a scoreless eighth, getting the third out on a diving catch by right fielder Nick Yovetich after Ridgefield loaded the bases with an infield hit and two walks.
Closer Connor Knutson shut the Raptors down in the ninth. It was not a save situation but Knutson still has not allowed a run in four innings over four appearances this summer.
The series resumes at 6:35 p.m. Saturday. Right-hander Jackson Arnsdorf (3-0, 0.61) is the projected starter for the Knights.
The Knights conclude the first-half schedule on Sunday with a 3:05 p.m. encounter with the Raptors. Lefty Tevita Gerber (3-1, 3.73) is their projected starting pitcher.
Corvallis begins the second half at Port Angeles on July 8-10. Its next home game is July 11 against the Hayesville Hammers.