The Red Deer Riggers were unable to solve stellar pitching from the Windsor Stars losing their opening game at the 2023 Canadian Men’s Senior AAA National Championships 3-1.
Stars pitcher Jack Zimmerman pitched all seven innings on Thursday and held the Riggers to just four hits. He also struck out six batters in the outing.
The Riggers opened the scoring in the bottom of the third inning when centre fielder JP Wilner hit in a runner from second base to take a 1-0 lead. That run was all the Riggers could muster in front of a busy crowd at Great Chief Park.
Riggers manager Jaret Chatwood said they came out a bit flat and Zimmerman took advantage of it.
“He threw well and kind of kept us on our toes,” he said. “They’re the defending national champions so they’re a good team. We played a really good game and Josh threw well we were just a little flat.”
Riggers starting pitcher Josh Edwards pitched six solid innings striking out seven batters. However, a solo home run by Jake Lumley and a single to shallow centre field gave Team Ontario a 2-1 lead in the fourth inning. Ontario added to their lead in the top of the sixth on a double to the outfield.
Kai Poffenroth then stepped onto the mound in the seventh inning for the Riggers striking out two batters but the Riggers were unable to launch the comeback in the bottom half.
“We had a big crowd tonight and the boys were ready to go. We came out with some good energy but we just didn’t get the hits when we needed them to,” Chatwood added.
“I think we need to put the ball in play a little bit more with some good hard at-bats. We’ve been in this tournament a lot so losing one game it’s tough to win every single game but getting the first one out of the way is important.
“We’ve got two big ones tomorrow so we’re going to worry about that and go from there.”
Wilner notched the Riggers’ lone RBI meanwhile Chatwood, Jason Louis, and Jamie Mitchell each had one hit.
On the other side, Andrew Wasyluk led the way with two RBIs and two hits on three at-bats. Noah Renaud, Carter Reh, Jake Lumley, Colin Robinson, and Lucas DiLuca all recorded a hit.
Play resumes Friday morning at 9 a.m. but the Riggers won’t hit the field until 1 p.m. against Newfoundland and Labrador. They’ll then face Nova Scotia later that evening at 7 p.m.