Photo by JOSH ALDRICH/Advocate staff -- for Josh's story -- Red Deer Razorbacks' Diego Colorado gets the bat on the ball during OParkland Baseball League action at Great Chief Park on Friday.

Razorbacks committed and ready

When Colin Stefanik and Darcy Warawa took over the Red Deer Razorbacks reins this spring, goal No. 1 was to recruit more versatile and committed players. The team had just finished languishing through two Parkland Baseball League seasons, struggling to get nine or 10 players out to games, and it showed in the standings.

When Colin Stefanik and Darcy Warawa took over the Red Deer Razorbacks reins this spring, goal No. 1 was to recruit more versatile and committed players.

The team had just finished languishing through two Parkland Baseball League seasons, struggling to get nine or 10 players out to games, and it showed in the standings.

They started the 2014 campaign with 19 on the roster and have picked up a few extra bodies since. Numbers this year are finally not an issue for the club and the results have improved, sitting at 4-3 this season despite inconsistency at the plate.

“We didn’t have the commitment from players, we were putting together a different lineup almost every game … and that for us in the last few years has been a bit of a struggle,” said Warawa, also noting they have lost four starters from their previous championship teams to family and work commitments in that time as well. “One thing with taking over the team, I was going to get some guys who knew what they were doing on a baseball diamond, and second off create a committed group that when they come to practice we get work done and make it worth guys’ time to come to practice.”

The strength of the senior AA club this year is the depth of their pitching staff. They are led by a pair of pitchers from Olds, Clinton Armitage and Chris Grudeski and have recently bolstered the group with the addition of Ontario southpaw Travis Bachynski, a product of the Prairie Baseball Academy in Lethbridge.

“We’ve probably got seven or eight guys this year that can probably go and throw, and that helps us,” said Warawa. “In the past we’ve dealt with four arms, sometimes five.”

This is Armitage’s first year with the club after spending part of 2012-13 season with the University of Calgary Dinos in the Canadian College Baseball Conference.

The19-year-old right-hander also plays third base and is solid at the plate. He is fitting in well in his rookie season.

“It’s great playing for a guy like Darcy, he knows a lot about the game,” he said. “I took a year off of ball so its nice to get back out.”

The biggest concern right now for the club is getting their bats going.

They have shown flashes of offence but little consistency. They have been able to get guys on base, but an inability to cash them in or execute set plays properly has killed them. In an 18-game season, getting the offence on track is one of the more difficult things to do.

“We have guys that played at the college level and we have guys who played midget AAA level, you just don’t have enough reps,” said Warawa.

“No one has been doing this all winter, you come out here a month-and-a-half ago and you start swinging at a practice and, it’s baseball, it takes a little time to find a groove and find a rhythm.”

Still the Razorbacks are confident about their chances this season.

The seven-team PBL changed its playoff format from a full-league tournament to a standard top four format — No. 1 plays 4, No. 2 plays 3 in best-of-three series, followed by a best-of-five league final.

Standing in their way will be the defending league champion Acme Pirates — who they play on Saturday in Acme at 7 p.m.

“Expectations are pretty high for this team,” said Armitage. “We’ve got a lot of good returning players and good new guys who’ve filled some holes. Everybody is hoping for good things come playoffs and I think we’ve got a chance.”

Just Posted

Red Deer property taxes to go up 2.15 per cent in 2019

City council approves $369.8 million budget

Sylvan Lake council approves concept plan for new park

Pogadl Park will eventally be home to numerous ball diamonds and sports fields

One person dead after collision on Highway 2A

Pickup truck and grain truck collided on Highway 2A south of Carstairs

Updated: Trial stalls for man accused in fatal Canada Day 2016 crash

Defence lawyer argued relevant information received only hours before trial to begin

Trudeau says politicians shouldn’t prey on Canadians’ fears

The Prime Minister was speaking at a townhall in Ontario

UPDATE: B.C. boy, aunt missing for three days

The pair are missing from Kamloops

Liberal bows out of byelection after singling out Jagmeet Singh’s race

Karen Wang says she made comments online that referenced Singh’s cultural background

Shooter pleads guilty to manslaughter in Stettler

A Stettler man charged with second-degree murder has pleaded guilty to manslaughter.… Continue reading

Kentucky canoe outfit borrows photo of Trudeau family to market business

They are in a red canoe, all clad in life jackets, and Sophie Gregoire Trudeau and Ella-Grace are waving

Police chief confirms all three Ottawa bus victims were on board when it crashed

OTTAWA — All three people killed in last week’s deadly bus accident… Continue reading

Theresa May wins no-confidence vote after Brexit deal rejection

UK PM can keep her job, after House of Commons voted 325-306

Alberta doctor accused of sexual assault asked to voluntarily give up practice

College says Dr. Barry Wollach should discontinue his practice, given the seriousness of the allegation against him

Speedy acceptance of Saudi shows refugee system’s flaws

Who would not wish Rahaf Mohammed well? The 18-year-old Saudi wants to… Continue reading

Most Read