Riggers get edged by Athletics in provincial final opener

In a short series giving games away is unacceptable. The Red Deer Riggers felt they gave away the opening game of the best-of-five Sunburst Baseball League and provincial senior AAA final, dropping a 6-5 decision to the Sherwood Park Athletics at Great Chief Park Monday. The Riggers had three runners thrown out on the bases and twice at third base for the first out.

In a short series giving games away is unacceptable.

The Red Deer Riggers felt they gave away the opening game of the best-of-five Sunburst Baseball League and provincial senior AAA final, dropping a 6-5 decision to the Sherwood Park Athletics at Great Chief Park Monday.

The Riggers had three runners thrown out on the bases and twice at third base for the first out.

“A couple of those came early and you kind of forget about them, but when you’re playing a good team you can’t be giving away outs,” said Riggers playing manager Jason Chatwood, who was thrown out at third for the first out in the third inning when he tried to take two bases on a JP Wilner single to left field.

“It was close, but I shouldn’t have been pushing it,” he said.

Shayne Court was also thrown out at home to end the second inning and Joel Mazurkewich was the first out at third when he attempted to take the base on a pitch in the dirt.

But while the three plays may have prevented the Riggers from taking the victory, Chatwood was more upset with himself for not bunting in the eighth inning. He came up with Mazurkewich on first and none away. He took a pair of balls then popped up to second base.

“I have to get that bunt down, but I got selfish,” he said. “I was going to bunt on the first two pitches, but after two balls I figured he’d throw one down the plate. In a five-game series you can’t do that … it was unacceptable.”

Despite the loss, the Riggers are far from out of the series as they host the A’s tonight at 7:30 p.m. with games three and four, if necessary, Thursday and Friday at 7 p.m. at John Fry Park in Edmonton. If a fifth game is needed it’s Sunday at 7:30 p.m. at Great Chief Park.

“In the end it was a good game, although we felt a lot of things didn’t go our way,” added Chatwood.

That was evident in the ninth inning when Jaret Chatwood lined a shot up the middle, but it hit pitcher Ryan MacDonald and deflected to second baseman Jeremy Harasymchuk, who had an easy throw to first for the out. Two batters later Shayne Court doubled to left, which would have tied the game.

“We didn’t come here thinking this would be easy, they are a good team and we knew it would be battle, as it always is,” said Jason Chatwood. “We have to shake this off and come back ready tomorrow. That’s the nice thing about baseball it’s a quick turn around. “Plus last year we won the first game and they won the series.”

The A’s grabbed a quick 2-0 lead against Riggers starter Josh Edwards on a home run by Greg Wallace in the top of the first inning.

The Riggers stormed back with three runs in the second on two hits, three walks and a hit batter. The A’s tied it in the third and took a 5-3 lead in the fifth.

The Riggers scored once in the bottom of the fifth on an Aaron Dunsmore sacrifice fly and tied in in the seventh on a Court sacrifice fly.

However, Lance Romanchuk drilled the first pitch he saw from Edwards in the eighth for the tie-breaking home run.

“I thought Eddie deserved a batter fate, but it’s one of those things,” said Chatwood.

Edwards went eight innings with Davin Gulbranson working the ninth. MacDonald went the distance for the A’s despite throwing 167 pitches.

Mazurkewich had two singles, a double and a walk in five plate appearances while Jason Louis had three hits and Wilner two. Romanchuk had three hits and Wallace and Jake Lanferman two each for the A’s, who will represent Alberta at the Canadians in Fredericton, N.B.

Jason and Jaret Chatwood, Dunsmore and Dustin Northcott will join the A’s at the Nationals.

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