One run up and one out from victory, Sherwood Park Athletics centrefielder Mark Kuzyk hit a deep fly ball to centrefield.
It had been a back-and-forth tilt between the Athletics and the Red Deer Riggers, as those games usually are. And the championship game of the Riggers 36th annual tournament on Sunday was just the time to showcase it.
Riggers Centrefielder Shayne Court thought the ball was over his head.
“Halfway through I thought it was going to be over my head for sure,” he said. “It slowed up enough that it was in my range. I knew I could catch it and it worked out pretty well for us.
“It was a heck of a battle and we always have crazy battles against the Athletics.”
He made a sliding grab, coming up with the fly out to end the game. The Riggers won the game 10-9 and the tournament. Because it was a tournament game, it was only seven innings long.
The game was tied up at 9-9 in the bottom of the sixth inning when, with one out and runners on first and second, Court grounded into a fielders choice. But Josh Edwards, who was on second at the start of the play, managed to score on the throw from second to first, an error was charged to A’s shortstop. The throw missed its mark leaving Court safe and Edwards scoring the winning run.
Court was hit by two pitches on the day and went 0-for-2, but scored after he was hit by a pitch.
Third baseman J.P. Wilner went 1-for-3 with a double that scored three runs in the fourth inning.
Infield errors dogged both teams during the game as they combined for six errors, four for the Riggers and two for the A’s.
Davin Gulbransen got the start for the Riggers, he pitched four innings and struck out two batters. Joel Peterman came in for two innings and held the A’s in check.
Drew Boyer picked up the save as he retired all three batters he faced in the seventh inning.
“Any time you can win your own tournament is huge,” said Court. “It’s nice to get it at the end of the season to wrap it up on a high heading into the playoffs.”
The Riggers got into the final thanks to an impressive pitching performance from Josh Edwards. He pitched a complete game and had a no hitter through four and two-third innings before the St. Albert Tigers broke it up. The Riggers won the semifinal 6-2.
The Riggers have one more game on their Sunburst Baseball League schedule on Friday, July 29 on the road against the Parkland White Sox. The Riggers sit atop the league standings at 16-1 and have clinched top spot heading into playoffs.