A seven run fourth inning blew an otherwise quiet game wide open as the Red Deer Riggers opened their season with a 10-1 win over the Parkland White Sox.
Four Riggers pitchers — Josh Edwards, Davin Gulbransen, Drew Boyer and Dustin Northcott — combined to hold the White Sox to one run on six hits Tuesday night at Great Chief Park.
But it was the new faces in the Riggers lineup that led the charge. Aaron J.P. Wilner and Aaron Dunsmore combined for six RBIs in the fourth inning.
Compounding issues for the visiting White Sox in the fourth, was all seven runs came with two outs. With the bases loaded, Dunsmore hit a double to the left-centre gap that was enough to clear the bases and score three runs.
After Jason Lewis walked to first, Wilner capped off the fourth with a three-run home run over the tall fence in centre field.
“It was a 2-0 fastball right down the middle,” said Wilner, who plays third base. “Didn’t miss it.
“I’m happy to be here and happy to be playing.”
Wilner, a Regina native, played last season with the Saskatoon Smoking Guns at nationals. Looking for a new place to play, the Riggers welcomed him with open arms. He played some college baseball in California, New Mexico and Georgia. He finished the day 2-for-4 at the plate with a single in the sixth inning.
Manager/shortstop Jason Chatwood said despite having the two outs, they came through in the fourth with runners on and the heart of the lineup right behind them.
“All of a sudden it’s seven runs,” said Chatwood.
“After that, defence and pitching did their thing.
“We had some guys get on by walks or hit-by-pitches or an error here or there. They got on base for the right guys. It’s nice when it works out.”
Designated hitter Kerry Boon was plunked twice and centre-fielder Shayne Court and Lewis were also hit.
“We had a good night, but I think every one is still rusty,” said Chatwood. “We’ll practice this weekend and get ready for next week.
“For the first game of the year you don’t expect balls to be hit that hard. Even some balls we hit that were caught were hard hit balls. We have a really deep lineup.”
The Riggers now have a week off before their next game at home on May 17 against the Sherwood Park Athletics. The game, at Great Chief Park, starts at 7:30 p.m.