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Riggers bounce back with pair of big wins at nationals

Riggers 7 Saskatchewan 2

The Red Deer Riggers rebounded with a vengeance Friday.

After being embarrassed 14-2 by New Brunswick in their opening game of the Canadian senior men’s baseball championship Thursday at St. John’s, N.L., the Alberta champion Riggers posted a pair of convincing victories Friday, 5-1 over Ontario and 7-2 over Saskatchewan.

“We were much better today,” said playing manager Curtis Bailey. “I knew we would come around at some point and I’m glad it was today.”

The Riggers got complete-game outings from pitchers Dustin Northcott and Davin Gulbransen to improve to 2-1 heading into today’s final round-robin contest against host St. John’s.

“We got a great pitching performance from Northcott in the first game (against Ontario). He dominated and had good stuff the whole game,” said Bailey.

Northcott allowed five hits, recorded four strikeouts and issued two walks while getting offensive support in the form of Jason Chatwood’s two-hit, two RBI effort and a home run from Aaron Dunsmore, who also drove in three runs.

“Dunsmore’s homer put us ahead, so that was huge,” said Bailey. “We didn’t have any home runs in the second game, but we had a couple of doubles and some timely singles.”

Kerry Boon led the way offensively against Saskatchewan, stroking a two-bagger and knocking in four runs as the Riggers scored three times in the first inning and never looked back. Denver Wik also cracked a double while Jason Louis and Jared Chatwood each contributed an RBI.

Gulbransen gave up six hits while walking one batter and fanning five.

“Davin was in control the whole game,” said Bailey.

The second- and third-place teams in each of the two pools will tangle later today, with the winners advancing to Sunday’s semifinals. The bronze- and gold-medal games will be played later in the day.

 
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