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BY KYLE GARCIA/PORTLAND TRIBUNE/Portland coach Barchus sidelined as WCL team drops series; finale with Raptors set for Thursday

PMG PHOTO: KYLE GARCIA - Interim head coach Mark Magdaleno addresses the Portland Pickles after their 8-1 loss at home Wednesday to Ridgefield. The Pickles' homestand at Walker Stadium continues with a 7 p.m. Thursday finale against the Raptors.The Portland Pickles, without their head coach, fell to the Ridgefield Raptors 8-1 on Wednesday night at Walker Stadium.

It was the third loss in a row for the Pickles (3-5), who are third in the West Coast League South Division.

Ridgefield (6-2) is second in the South and has won six games in a row.

Portland starter Daniel Naughton (0-1), a Gonzaga Bulldog, had a tough night on the mound, giving up six runs (four earned) and seven hits in three innings.

Ridgefield's Joey Martin (1-0), from Kansas State, had a stellar outing with three strikeouts and one run allowed in five innings.

"It's a learning curve on both ends," Portland pitching coach Zach Miller said.

The Pickles have dropped three straight.

"I think they'll get through it. It's just a tough time right now," Miller said.

Pickles coach Justin Barchus was out with a medical complication from knee surgery. A timetable for his return was uncertain.

Hitting coach Mark Magdaleno will be interim head coach until Barchus returns.

"We just got to make sure he's good," Magdaleno said. "He's an up-and-coming star, and people don't realize how good he is at what he does, and our job is to make sure that we keep going forward."

Magdaleno is head coach at Clark College in Vancouver, Washington.

"It's my 35th season (as a coach)," he said. "I've been in the system before, I know my job, and to the best of my ability I'm going to make sure he comes back to something he's going to be proud of."

Magdaleno and Miller said the drill remained relatively the same in terms of preparation for Wednesday's game, which clinched the three-game series for the expansion Raptors.

"The unique thing about our coaching arrangement is Justin does a great job of delegating and letting us do our deal," said Magdaleno, who found out at 2 p.m. Wednesday he would be interim head coach. "Zach and I are going to continue to do what we've done for two years and make sure our guys are ready to compete."

"We just picked up his load," Miller said. "So Mags (Magdaleno) runs Clark, (bench coach Jim) Hoppel runs Clackamas (CC), I've been a manager before, so we are more than qualified to handle it. I think that's a big key that you don't find with a lot of staffs."

But, Barchus' calming presence was missed, Miller said.

"It's like having a family gathering and somebody's missing," Magdaleno added. "He's the biggest part of this. He's our manager. So we've got to play hard for that guy."

Ridgefield unleashed an offensive onslaught on Portland, with 15 hits. Starting with a first-pitch double from leadoff batter Jack Bauer, the Raptors had three consecutive hits and scored twice.

"It ambushed us a little to start the game with a double on the first pitch," Miller said.

Portland pitchers struggled to retire batters, even when they were ahead in the count.

"When you get ahead of hitters, you've got to be able to put them away," Miller said. "We didn't go off the plate enough and try to expand the zone. We just threw into the zone."

The bulk of the scoring came in the third inning, when the Raptors plated four runs for a 6-1 lead. Ridgefield got RBI singles from Grayson Sterling and Ole Arnston, a hit by pitch from Naughton with the bases loaded and an unearned run.

Portland scored in the second, when a wild pitch brought home designated hitter Connor Wojahn (Clark/ex-Tigard High).

The Pickles managed only three hits.

"We're trying to adjust," said center fielder John Arndorfer (Notre Dame/ex-Jesuit High). "Put some more contact on it, strike out less. Last time (Tuesday) we had much better at-bats that didn't show up on the scoreboard. Tonight wasn't great at-bats, but it'll turn around."

Along with his summer teammates, Arndorfer has struggled at the plate, batting .190. But he's managed to still get on base, having drawn 11 walks.

"I want to hit as opposed to walk, but it is an important part of the game, getting to first, getting on base," Arndorfer said. "I've been trying to battle up a little more with two strikes, swing at the right pitches. Just any way you get to first."

The final run came in the sixth on an RBI double from Raptors second baseman Justin Boyd (Oregon State).

Errors continued to be a problem for the Pickles. They made four, giving them 14 in the past four games.

"That's my fault," Magdaleno said. "JB is our manager, he's given me the direct responsibility of preparing this team last year and this year to play. I take full responsibility for how we're playing defense and how we're approaching the game."

First pitch for the series finale is at 7 p.m. Thursday, and the biggest adjustment for the Pickles will be mental, not physical, Magdaleno said.

"Adversity's got to be your friend," he said. "The game will treat you badly if you treat it badly. We've got to come out, grind it out, compete. We've got to make it a street fight.

"Tomorrow's another day, and the sun's going to come up, and if it doesn't, we're all dead anyway and it doesn't really matter. We're just going to come out and win the day."

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