Riggers 7 White Sox 3
The Red Deer Riggers have scored more than their share of runs during the 2014 Sunburst Baseball League season, but they’re also blessed with a deep pitching staff.
It’s a potent combination that has staked the club to a flawless 16-0 record.
“We had good depth at the position last year, and then we added a few more guys this season,” said Riggers playing manager Curtis Bailey, following his squad’s latest victory — 7-3 over the Parkland White Sox Tuesday at Great Chief Park.
With the most recent additions of youngsters Wyle Cunningham and Reign Letkeman and veteran Drew Boyer, the Riggers have no fewer than nine arms in their bullpen.
“And we even have position players who can pitch, guys like Jaret Chatwood and Mark Fay. They can eat up some innings and throw really well,” said Bailey. “We’re real deep there and I’m comfortable with the guys we have. We have good, solid depth in our lineup.”
Cunningham, who started Tuesday and worked four scoreless innings, and Letkeman aren’t far removed from the midget AAA ranks and played U.S. college ball last winter at Salt Lake and Big Bend community colleges, respectively.
“They’re young guys, very athletic with loose arms,” said Bailey. “It’s a little different pitching here than it is in college or midget baseball. They throw sliders when they’re behind hitters or in hitters’ counts.
“It’s nice that they’re starting to feel comfortable with playing at this level and they’re gaining confidence. Look at tonight — Wyle goes out and throws real well. His arm was sore but he gave us a few innings. He didn’t throw many pitches but he had good command and was in the strike zone. It was nice to see.”
Cunningham faced only 13 batters during his impressive stint and surrendered just a single hit while recording three strikeouts. Sean MaGuire pitched the fifth and sixth innings and earned the win despite giving up two runs on three hits, and Boyer worked the final three frames.
Boyer, who was touched for one run on four hits, joined the Riggers this season after pitching with a handful of former and current Sunburst League teams.
“He’s played with Fort Saskatchewan, St. Albert and the Edmonton Angels,” said Bailey. “He’s been around and he understands the game. He’s got his superstitions . . . . his routine of this is how it is.
“He’s going to go out and work hard for you. He’s a gamer.”
The Riggers led all the way, striking for two runs in the first inning, adding two in each of the fifth and sixth frames and scoring once in the seventh.
Jason and Jaret Chatwood led off the contest with back-to-back singles and scored on fly-outs by Jason Louis and Bailey.
Jaret Chatwood stroked an RBI double in the fifth and scored on a single by Kerry Boon. In the sixth, Bailey doubled and Mark Fay singled and scored on a single from Shayne Court and Mike Ronnie’s fielder’s choice. Louis drove in Jason Chatwood, who was three-for-four at the plate, with a seventh-inning double.
Aaron and Tyler Dunsmore each drove in a run for the visitors. Aaron Dunsmore started on the Parkland mound and gave up six runs on 10 hits over six innings. Josh Turner worked the final two frames and was touched for one run on three hits.
l The Riggers five-team tournament runs Friday to Sunday at Great Chief Park.
Red Deer will take on the St. Albert Tigers in Friday’s lone game, set for 7:30 p.m.
On Saturday, the Riggers will face the Calgary Cardinals at 9:30 a.m. and will meet the Fort Saskatchewan A’s at 7:30 p.m.
The rest of the tournament schedule:
Saturday — Tigers vs. Edmonton Confederation Cubs, noon; Tigers vs. A’s, 2:30 p.m.; Cubs vs. Cardinals, 5 p.m.
Sunday — A’s vs. Cardinals, 9 a.m.; Riggers vs. Cubs, 11:30 a.m.; Tigers vs. Cardinals, 2 p.m.; final at 4:30 p.m. (first vs. second).