Riggers victorious in home tournament

The Red Deer Riggers weren’t leaving anything to chance in the final of their own senior men’s baseball tournament Sunday at Great Chief Park. After suffering their first loss of the season within provincial borders — 3-2 to the Calgary Wolfpack — Saturday night and edging the Fort Saskatchewan A’s 9-7 in a semifinal Sunday afternoon, the Riggers buried the Wolfpack 12-0 in a championship game that was called after five innings due to the 10-run mercy rule.

The Red Deer Riggers weren’t leaving anything to chance in the final of their own senior men’s baseball tournament Sunday at Great Chief Park.

After suffering their first loss of the season within provincial borders — 3-2 to the Calgary Wolfpack — Saturday night and edging the Fort Saskatchewan A’s 9-7 in a semifinal Sunday afternoon, the Riggers buried the Wolfpack 12-0 in a championship game that was called after five innings due to the 10-run mercy rule.

The Riggers jumped all over Wolfpack starting pitcher James Carr, scoring seven runs while collecting eights hits off the former Red Deer Stag over the first two innings and change. Game, set and match.

“We went out with the approach that we owe these guys one and kind of got back to how we were playing before,” said Riggers playing manager Curtis Bailey. “We made some good contact, scored a couple runs in the first (inning) and kept it going the rest of the game.”

Curtis Mazurkewich stroked a single and two-run double for the hosts, while Jared Chatwood contributed a single and double and drove in two runs, Jason Chatwood and Kerry Boon each had two RBI, Kevin Curran had two hits and knocked in a run and Josh Edwards also brought a runner home.

Dustin Northcott worked all five innings on the Red Deer mound, giving up just three hits.

The Riggers failed to get a run off the second Calgary hurler — Austin Orstad, who worked two innings — then touched Neil Robinson for five runs in the fifth.

Earlier, Jason Chatwood cracked a two-run, walk-off homer in the eighth inning to lift the Riggers to their semifinal win over the A’s. Mazurkewich slammed a two-run homer in the second inning and also singled and walked, and Jason and Jared Chatwood each had two singles.

Reign Letkeman pitched five innings for Red Deer, giving up six runs on eights hits. Joel Peterman got the win, surrendering one run on four hits over the final three innings.

James Fischer pitched the entire game for the A’s.

The Riggers ran into a hot pitcher in their round-robin loss to the Wolfpack Saturday night. Both Red Deer runs were unearned while Curtis Smith gave up only six hits over seven innings.

“He was good. We’re a pretty offensive team, but the guy threw well and he shut down our offence,” said Bailey. “He had three really good pitches that he threw for strikes. He had a good change-up and a fastball with good velocity. I tip my hat to him.”

Bailey admitted that the loss might have been a blessing in disguise.

“It was probably good for our egos a bit to know that we aren’t invincible,” he said.

“I don’t think we were realistically going through a whole year undefeated and I think we learned (from the loss).

“We bounced back in the second game against them (Wolfpack). For example, Curran had a rough game yesterday and tonight he made some great plays.”

In Saturday’s other games, the St. Albert Tigers edged the Wolfpack 2-1, the Calgary Cardinals defeated Fort Saskatchewan 7-6 and got past the Edmonton Confederation Park Cubs 13-9, and the Cubs were thumped 10-0 by the A’s.

The Cubs beat the Tigers 12-8 in Sunday morning’s fifth/sixth place game and that Wolfpack downed the Cardinals 5-2 in a semifinal.

The Riggers return to Sunburst League play Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. against the visiting A’s.

It will probably serve as Red Deer’s final regular-season contest as a postponed contest with the Tigers is unlikely to be played.

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