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Red Deer Riggers clinch playoff spot

It's official, the Red Deer Riggers are headed back to the postseason.

On Tuesday night at Great Chief Park they secured their spot in the Sunburst League playoffs with a 10-0 win over the Calgary Diamondbacks.

The win marked Red Deer's fifth straight victory and improved to 12-4 in the league standings with two regular season games left.

"It's awesome," said Riggers manager and third baseman Jaret Chatwood. "The boys have been playing good so it's a good time for everyone to get hot."

Indeed they did.

In over 30 degrees weather on Tuesday, the Riggers bats got hot as they combined for a total of eight hits in the shutout victory that lasted just five innings.

Shortstop Mason Love-Hollman knocked in a run on his first at-bat of the contrast after Ryley Doig opened the game with a triple. Later that inning, Carter Claerhout made it 2-0 for Red Deer. He was sent home after a wild pitch got away from the Diamondbacks pitcher.

In the third inning, the Riggers added three runs off a series of errors from Calgary before Doig brought two more home to lead 7-0 on a double to the outfield. The Riggers knocked in three more runs in the bottom of the fifth off RBIs from Love-Hollman and catcher Kyle Belich.

Pitcher Jared Arnold started on the mound for the Riggers and threw four scoreless innings. Adam Turgeon threw the final inning for the Riggers to secure the victory.

"It was a solid game. The guys came out and the pitchers threw a ton of strikes. I mean we put up 10 runs so we were doing something right. It was a beautiful night and a good outcome," he added.

With still plenty of games left in the regular season the Riggers have yet to find out who they'll face in the semifinal round of the playoffs. However, Chatwood said it could potentially either be the Diamondbacks or the Calgary Rockies depending on how the rest of the season shakes out.

The playoffs are set to begin on Aug. 6 with a best-of-three semifinal series with the league finals beginning on Aug. 13, which will be a best-of-five series.

Chatwood added that he feels right now they're playing their best baseball.

"At the start of the year, we were a little bit slow and then we've kind of just gone on a little bit of a run. The pitchers are throwing awesome and everyone's starting to come around. I think it's a great time for us to be playing our best ball."

The Riggers are fresh off an 8-2 victory over the Diamondbacks on Monday and a 3-2 win over the Rockies last Friday in Calgary.

Red Deer's last two games of the year will be against the Edmonton Padres on Friday, July 12 in Edmonton followed by a matchup with the Diamondbacks on Tuesday, July 16 at 7:30 p.m. at Great Chief Park.

The Riggers annual home tournament will also take place next weekend at Great Chief Park from July 19 - 21. However, the games will have no impact on the league standings.

Ian Gustafson

About the Author: Ian Gustafson

Ian began his journalism career as a reporter in Prince Albert, Sask. for the last three years, and was born and raised in Saskatchewan.
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