The Red Deer Riggers are coming home from nationals with out a medal, and they’re not happy about it.
The Riggers were bounced from the Baseball Canada 2014 Senior Men’s National Championship in St. John’s, N.L., after a 7-1 loss to the Mississauga Twins in Saturday’s quarter-final.
It was their second loss of the day, after falling 4-3 to the host St. John’s Winmar Capitals, putting them third in their pool and into the must-win game.
“You expect to win, you expect to play good baseball — not that we didn’t play good baseball — we fell short of our expectations,” said Riggers head coach Curtis Bailey.
Jaret Chatwood led the Riggers in their loss against the Capitals with a two-run home run in the second inning, that momentarily gave Red Deer a 2-1 lead, but they gave up three runs in the bottom half of the inning and never fully recovered. Craig Thomas started the game for Red Deer, throwing 2 2/3 innings and was charged all four runs, three of them earned on four hits and three walks with one strike out.
In the game against Mississauga, the Twins scored two runs in the second inning and another three in the fifth to build a 5-0 lead. Red Deer scored one in the top of the sixth, but the Twins put it away with another two runs in their half of the inning.
James Fischer started the game for Red Deer and lasted 4 2/3 innings giving up five earned runs on three hits and five walks with seven strikeouts.
Red Deer managed just two hits off Mississauga starter Jordan Petruska, who pitched a complete game, giving up no earned runs and striking out three.
“We probably put a little pressure on ourselves … and I think at times we really pressed too hard and were over aggressive for what we really should have been doing,” said Bailey.
On the brightside, the Riggers will return almost their entire roster next year to nationals in Chatham, N.B., after winning the Sunburst Baseball League and provincial titles again this year.
The Riggers went through the Sunburst regular season with an 18-0 record and beat the Fort Saskatchewan Atheltics 3-1 in the final. The biggest lesson they learned is, none of that mattered in St. John’s.
“You have to forget what you’ve done all year,” said Bailey. “You have to take each game as new competition and you have to play your game. I think that will have us competing stronger than what we were.”
• The Langley Blazers beat the Tecumseh Thunder 3-0 in the gold medal game. The Twins beat the Chatham Ironmen out of New Brunswick 11-0 to win bronze.