For a nine inning game, Wednesday’s battle between the Red Deer Riggers and the St. Albert Tigers was decided in the first inning.
In the top of the inning, the bases were loaded and the Riggers only had one out, the Tigers looked to have the upper hand early. But Riggers starting pitcher Josh Edwards bared down and struck out two batters to get out of the jam.
“It was big for our team, we had a botched double play and you had to try to battle through with a couple of good pitches,” said Edwards.
“I just try to throw strike one. I try to get ahead. You just try to get strike one and after that you get strike two.”
Edwards pitched seven innings and struck out six as he picked up the win. He held the Tigers to four hits and one earned run in the win, which gives the Riggers a 1-0 lead in their best-of-three Sunburst Baseball League semifinal.
After getting out of the first inning jam, the Riggers bats quickly turned the tides of the game as they scored four runs in the bottom of the first.
“I know for them (Tigers), that’s pretty disheartening,” said shortstop and manager Jason Chatwood. “Then we come back and put a lot of pressure on them, which was nice for us.
“Eddy came in and set the tone early and got the strikes. Four runs in the first inning was huge.”
Leading the way offensively for the Riggers was right fielder Aaron Dunsmore who went 3-for-4 at the plate with a two run home run in the second inning. He added two single and drove in three runs.
Catcher Jaret Chatwood, centre fielder Shayne Court and second baseman Denver Wik all had doubles while designated hitter Derek Chapman went 2-for-3 at the plate with a walk, two singles and two RBIs.
Defensively, Jason Chatwood flashed some leather and his arm as he channelled the defensive spirit of Derek Jeter with a long toss from the deep in the hole at shortstop to gun down the Tigers batter.
“That was about all I had left in my arm,” said Chatwood. “It pushed me to the max.”
Joel Peterman came in to close out the last two innings. Despite giving up a run in the top of the ninth, he ended the game with his lone strikeout.
The series now switches to St. Albert on Friday night for game two. The Riggers will send Dustin Northcott to the mound as they look to end the series quickly.
“We need to go in and do what we need to do, and not focus in on the opposition as much,” said Chatwood. “We have one of our top guys going.”
Game two starts at 7:30 p.m. in St. Albert. Game three, if necessary, will be back in Red Deer on Sunday at 7 p.m. at Great Chief Park.