Local Sports: Ty Russell’s experience a boon for Riggers

Local Sports: Ty Russell’s experience a boon for Riggers

Ty Russell was looking for a place to play baseball this summer and the Red Deer Riggers were the benefactors.

The 24-year-old native of Victoria is taking his master’s degree in biology at the University of Alberta and wanted to play in a competitive league, yet one where it wasn’t a full time commitment.

“Last summer I played on a men’s team at home and it wasn’t as competitive,” he explained. “This is definitely more competitive, but you don’t have to put your full attention to it like in college of the Western Major Baseball League.”

Russell knows a little bit about both those programs as he played four years of college in the States and spent one summer with the Moose Jaw Miller Express in the WMBL.

He came up through a solid baseball program in Victoria and played with the Victoria Merchants of the B.C. Premier Baseball League. The Merchants won the provincial title in 2010, but that wasn’t the highlight of his minor league days.

“I was with the B.C. bantam team that won the Canadian championship,” he said.

But overall Ty didn’t see a lot of time with the provincial teams.

“I was a late bloomer,” he said. “As a result I was left off a lot of those teams when I was younger and in high school. But that was a sort of motivation for me, to be able to pass some of those other guys, who had better talent when I was younger.”

Russell received a scholarship to Marshalltown Community College in 2012. He spent two years there before joining the NCAA Division I program at Alabama A&M.

He was twice named to the All-Conference regional team with Marshalltown — the first as a catcher and the second at first base.

He batted a team high .368 his first season.

“It ended up that year I caught almost every game and I had a great year at the plate,” he said. “The second year I played first base as my knees were bothering me, probably from playing so much behind the plate the previous year, and I had another good season.”

He joined Alabama for the 2014-15 season. His second year he batted .288 with an impressive .943 OPS (on-base plus slugging) and was named to the second All-Conference team.

He spend the summer of 2015 with the Miller Express, which included the Riggers Levi Moon.

“I planned on going back the following year but received an internship at Auburn and I couldn’t turn that down.”

But it wasn’t his acquaintance with Moon that brought him to the Riggers.

“I knew Levi from Moose Jaw, but didn’t know he was here until I arrived for my first practice,” said Russell, who learned about the Riggers from a friend, who played with a number of the Red Deer players at Minot State University.

Russell has filled in at catcher, some first base and the outfield for the Riggers, but will be catching more in the Sunburst Baseball and provincial playoffs and the Nationals in Victoria.

“Our regular catcher (Curtis Mazurkewich) has received a job in Yellowknife, so it looks like I’ll be catching more,” said Russell, who is excited to return home for the Canadian finals.

“I’m really looking forward to it,” he said. “I’ll go home a week ahead of time to see my family before the championships. Once they’re over it will be time for school.”

Russell expects to take just over two years to finish his degree at the U of A, so will be with the Riggers next season for sure.

Danny Rode is a retired Advocate reporter who can be reached at danrode@shaw.ca

Red Deer Baseball

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Red Deer County's municipal planning commission gave approval for a new directional sign for a business located near Elnora.
(Image from Red Deer County)
Red Deer County garden centre and winery gets sign approved

Delidais Estate Winery and DA Gardens is located near Elnora

(Advocate file photo)
Red Deer County approves home-based hair salon

Salon would be located in rural residential area just west of Innisfail

A rodeo south of Bowden drew a huge crowd on May 1 and 2, 2021. (Photo courtesy Mom's Diner's Facebook page)
‘No More Lockdowns’ rodeo rally organizers charged under Public Health Act

RCMP issued a notice to appear in court for the organizers of… Continue reading

Red Deer city council has no immediate plans to discuss increasing penalties for non-compliance with the municipal mask-wearing bylaw. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
Red Deer not following Calgary’s example to hike penalties for COVID-19 rule-breakers

Mayor says an update on complaince complaints will soon be provided

A vial of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine is shown at a facility in Milton, Ont., on Wednesday, March 3, 2021. Alberta says it won’t give out more first doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine for the time being.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Carlos Osorio - POOL
Alberta to stop giving first doses of AstraZeneca COVID-19 shot as supply dwindles

OTTAWA — Alberta says it won’t give out more first doses of… Continue reading

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Here is a list of latest COVID-19 restrictions in effect in Alberta

New mandatory health restrictions are now in effect in Alberta. Additional restrictions… Continue reading

Heidi Illingworth, federal ombudsman for victims of crime, takes part in an interview at her office in Ottawa on Thursday, Jan. 10, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Watchdog worries federal benefit for parents of missing, murdered kids going unused

OTTAWA — The federal ombudsman for victims of crime says she remains… Continue reading

Labour Minister Harry Bains arrives at B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Monday, June 26, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
British Columbia to give workers three days of paid sick leave for COVID-19

VICTORIA — British Columbia will give all workers up to three days… Continue reading

Minister of Health Patty Hajdu responds to a question during question period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Thursday, Nov. 26, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Coalition says users were shut out of drug decriminalization proposal, demands redo

Advocates are calling on the federal government and the City of Vancouver… Continue reading

Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe waits in line at a COVID-19 vaccination drive-thru clinic at Evraz Place in Regina on Thursday, April 15, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mark Taylor
Other provinces looking at Saskatchewan’s plan to tie COVID-19 vaccines to reopening

CALGARY — Neighbouring provinces are eyeing Saskatchewan’s plan to ease COVID-19 restrictions… Continue reading

This undated photo provided by the North Dakota Game and Fish Department shows a group of bighorn sheep in North Dakota. Alberta’s environment department has known for years that toxins from old coal mines are contaminating populations of the province’s official animal, the bighorn sheep. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Craig Bihrle/North Dakota Game and Fish Department via AP, File
Alberta government knew bighorn sheep contaminated with coal mine selenium: scientist

EDMONTON — Alberta’s environment department has known for years that toxins from… Continue reading

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau holds a news conference at Rideau cottage in Ottawa, on Friday, March 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Chartrand
Trudeau rejects Alberta cabinet minister accusation he wants COVID health disaster

EDMONTON — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is rejecting an accusation from Alberta’s… Continue reading

In this June 8, 2017, file photo, fresh nuts, bolts and fittings are ready to be added to the east leg of the pipeline near St. Ignace, Mich., as Enbridge prepares to test the east and west sides of the Line 5 pipeline under the Straits of Mackinac in Mackinaw City, Mich. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Dale G Young/Detroit News via AP, File
On eve of deadline, Canada makes case in court to keep Line 5 pipeline running

WASHINGTON — The federal government is stepping up its fight with Michigan… Continue reading

Denis Shapovalov, of Canada, tosses the ball for a serve to Ilya Ivashka, of Belarus, during the Miami Open tennis tournament Saturday, March 27, 2021, in Miami Gardens, Fla. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Wilfredo Lee
Canadian Denis Shapovalov books spot in second round of Italian Open

Shapovalov to face world Stefano Travaglia, of Italy

Most Read