Stags 8 Tigers Orange 0
Facing the worst team in the Sunburst Baseball League with a wicked weekend schedule upcoming, the Red Deer Stags trotted out three pitchers Thursday at Great Chief Park.
“We have four games coming up this weekend, and four games in two days eats up your pitching staff pretty quickly,” said Stags playing coach Davin Gulbransen, following an 8-0 win over the St. Albert Tigers Orange.
“But we hadn’t played in two weeks prior to tonight because of rainouts and we wanted our guys to shake off some rust and get some time in on the mound.”
Mission accomplished. Scott Trapp started and worked two innings, Tim Dell was in for three frames and Gulbransen tossed the final two. The visitors managed a measly four hits in total off the trio of Red Deer hurlers.
The Stags improved to 6-1 in league play while the Tigers Orange dropped to 0-10. No matter; Gulbransen wasn’t taking away from his team’s performance, which resulted in a mercy-rule ending after seven innings.
“No matter how good or how bad your team is compared to the other, you still have to play against the game. You still have to catch the ball, hit the ball and throw the ball,” he said. “We weren’t defensively sound tonight. We made a couple of errors that could have cost us, but we made the plays that we had to so we came out all right.”
At the same time, Gulbransen was at least mildly impressed by the Tigers Orange.
“They were coming off a 19-0 loss (to the Fort Saskatchewan Athletics) last night so it would be hard for them to keep their chins up all the time, but it was only 3-0 for the first six innings tonight so they can take something from that and not hang their heads,” he said.
“You’re always going to have some teams that are weaker than others, but you still have to play against the game.”
Kevin Curran had two hits and drove in a pair of runs for the Stags, who led 3-0 after the first inning but were blanked until the seventh frame when they scored five runs to enforce the mercy rule. Chayse Marion also contributed two hits for the winners, while Jason Fraser and Jordan Reiter each stroked a double and Adam Eisenbarth knocked in a run.
“This is the first time we’ve won by a goose egg. All or our games prior to tonight were high scoring and won by the offence, definitely not the defence,” said Gulbransen.
“Any time you can put up a shutout is good, but the next four games are going to be telling.”
Indeed, the Stags will entertain the St. Albert Tigers Black in a doubleheader Saturday with games set for noon and 3 p.m., and will host Fort Saskatchewan in a Sunday twinbill at 3 and 6 p.m.
“We’ll have to beat both of those teams if we want to be the best in the province,” said Gulbransen.