Red Deer Riggers awarded 2021 Senior AAA Men’s Nationals

In the summer of 2021, it will be a dream realized for the Red Deer Riggers.

Sunday, the team announced that they will play host to the 2021 Senior Men’s AAA Baseball National Championships.

Red Deer bid to host the championship in both 2019 and 2020, but lost out both years. The 2019 tournament was in New Brunswick and the 2020 event was awarded to Sydney, Nova Scotia.

“The wheels are turning and everyone is getting excited. It’s still a long way away but it’s definitely nice to know it’s coming to Red Deer,” said Riggers infielder Jaret Chatwood, who was one of the driving forces that helped bring the tournament to town.

The 2021 bid included everything from letters of community support to information about the host city and the facilities. They will also have live streaming for the event.

Alberta hasn’t hosted the tournament since Red Deer held it in 1994, 25 years ago. It was in the west in both 2017 and 2018 when it was held in Victoria, B.C.

Since 1969, the tournament has only been held in Alberta three times, two of those (1987 and 1994) were in Red Deer.

“We know what the players enjoy and Red Deer is nice because both fields are right there,” Chatwood said.

“That’s been a rarity at nationals. To have everything at one park. The city of Red Deer is going to be great for it. It’s the perfect size and there are good social things to do, not just the baseball and it’s good to have that part of the community involved as well.”

While off-field preparations will go on throughout the next year and a half, on the field there are also important steps to make for the club.

That includes setting up the roster for this season to win the provincial championship because doing so means they will be Alberta one at Nationals in 2021. That guarantees Red Deer first crack at selecting players from other teams to bring along with them to the tournament.

“You’re always trying to get the right guys in but it’s for sure something that’s going to be in the back of our minds when we’re recruiting players,” Chatwood said.

“You try and win every year, it will be very important for us to win, because if we win we get first pickup of all of Alberta and it’s a little easier draw to get people to come in.”

The tournament will take place from Aug. 26-29.

Email sports tips to Byron Hackett

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