Dream comes true as Chatwood joins Team Canada
Jason Chatwood always had a dream of playing baseball for Team Canada, so when he got his opportunity he couldn’t turn it down even though the Red Deer Riggers were in the middle of the Sunburst Baseball League and provincial senior AAA final.
“It’s bitter sweet for sure,” he said. “This was an opportunity I always wanted, but it was difficult because I’ve been with these guys (Riggers) all season and we’ve worked hard to get where we are.”
Chatwood talked with long time Rigger Dwayne Lalor and Riggers playing manager Curtis Bailey before making his decision.
“They both said I may never get this opportunity again and they both supported my decision. They said we have a good squad with depth. It’s hard to leave and my heart will be here, but I’m excited about going as well.”
Chatwood leaves Tuesday for Prince George and the World Baseball Challenge, which includes teams from the United States, Japan, Cuba and Chinese Taipei. Canada opens play Tuesday against the USA.
“I don’t know what to expect or what they have in mind for me, but I’ll do whatever I’m asked,” said Chatwood, who was in the Riggers lineup Sunday when they dropped a 10-2 decision to the Fort Saskatchewan Athletics, which evened the best-of-five playoff at 1-1.
The Canadian team is a senior amateur squad.
“They can’t be professionals,” said Chatwood, who sent his baseball resume into the team after contacted by Lalor.
“I went through the process and was lucky enough they contacted me,” said Chatwood, who has been swinging a productive bat for most of the season.
“It’s been a busy time lately for us and the guys have been out almost every day. I feel pretty good right now and believe I can compete at that level.”
It will be a busy time for Chatwood as the World Challenge goes through Aug,. 22 then he’ll join the Athletics at the Canadian senior championships in Windsor, Ont., along with several other members of the Riggers.
Bailey will have to make a couple tough decisions to replace Chatwood in the batting order and at short stop.
“Matt Fay has played there some and Jaret (Chatwood) has as well,” he said. “The nice thing is we’ve used some different lineups throughout the season, so it won’t be completely new for us.”
The Riggers were right with the A’s for six innings Sunday before their pitching let them down. The A’s scored seven runs a in the bottom of the seventh to win on the mercy rule.
Matt Davis started on the mound and gave up three runs in the first inning, then settled down until the seventh.
He allowed six runs on 11 hits, two walks and fanned three. Joel Peterman, who hasn’t pitched since June, came in and gave up four runs on four hits. Sean Maguire faced one batter.
The Riggers managed only six hits off Scott Koughan. Fay had two singles and a a double, Jason Chatwood an RBI double and Kerry Boon and Jordan Weinkauf singles.
“He didn’t throw hard, but we kept getting ourselves out,” said Bailey. “Our swings were far too long and we didn’t give ourselves chances to put together rallies.”
Matt Beaudry had three hits and Tom Mulethaler had two hits, including a home run and three RBIs.
The series continues Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. at Great Chief Park with the fourth game Wednesday in Fort Saskatchewan and if a fifth game is necessary it’s Friday at 7:30 p.m. at Great Chief Park. Dustin Northcott, who is also expected to join Team Canada, is slated to pitch Tuesday for the Riggers.