The Red Deer Riggers took care of business on Monday night.
In Game 1 of the Sunburst League semi-finals against the Calgary Rockies, the Riggers won a nail-biter 6-5 at Gulls Stadium in Sylvan Lake.
Starting pitcher Josh Edwards had a fantastic game striking out six batters through six innings of work.
It’s been a huge last few days for Edwards who also got married over the weekend.
“It’s my first win as a married man so it’s nice to get one here and go to Calgary tomorrow with Game 1 under our belt,” he said.
Edwards gave the Riggers a chance to win holding the Rockies scoreless until the sixth inning. In that frame, Edwards gave up three runs on four hits but weathered the storm to escape the inning with the lead intact.
“I just wanted to get off to a good start and throw strikes early and get ahead on counts,” he added. “That really helped us and it’s always helpful when you can get a lead early.”
Edwards is in his 12th year in the Sunburst League, 10th as a member of the Riggers.
“We have a shorter season up here so it’s nice to get to playoffs and play some meaningful baseball,” he said.
“Especially this year with nationals coming up it’s great o play some great teams late in the year and get some experience for the younger guys.”
The Riggers got on the board in the first inning when Riggers second baseman Jaret Chatwood made a dash for home from third base after a pitch got away from the Rockies pitcher.
The Riggers were halted from adding more to the scoreboard until the bottom of the fifth inning. Riggers Zach Olsen sent a moonshot over the centrefield fence for a three-run home run to take a commanding 4-0 lead.
The Rockies finally got on the scoresheet in the top of the sixth notching three runs.
The first came on a double to the outfield followed by a sacrifice fly. A misplayed pop fly cashed in the Rockies’ third run of the game but the Riggers still held the lead through six innings 4-3.
The Riggers answered in the bottom half. With runners on second and third, catcher Kyle Belich knocked in a run with a pop fly into shallow right field. Right after, Derrick Chapman hammered in an additional run to lead 6-3.
Riggers closing pitcher Kai Poffenroth entered in the seventh inning to seal the deal. After getting the first initial out, the Rockies hammered a two-run home run over the fence.
However, Poffenroth struck out two batters to get the final outs of the game to seal the Game 1 victory.
“We played a really clean ball game,” Edwards said. “We made a couple of really good plays in the field and really helped out behind me. That’s always huge… It’s nice when everyone on the team is contributing.”
Game 2 will go ahead on Tuesday night in Calgary and if needed Game 3 will be back at Gulls Stadium on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m.