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Red Deer Riggers fall in Sunburst League semi-finals

Preparation for nationals begin
Red Deer Riggers starting pitcher Dustin Northcott pitches against the Calgary Rockies on Wednesday in Game 3 of the Sunburst League semi-finals at Gulls Stadium. (Photo by Ian Gustafson/ Advocate staff)

Riggers 3

Rockies 6

It was just one of those nights for the Red Deer Riggers.

Challenged with great pitching from the Calgary Rockies on Wednesday the Riggers struggled at the plate and lost 6-3 in the Sunburst League semi-finals at Gulls Stadium.

Riggers manager Jaret Chatwood said they left it all out on the field too little too late.

“We just didn’t have as competitive at-bats as we should have early on in the game,” he said.

“The pitchers did their job and Calgary played really well. Hats off to them they’re a good club and they played well.”

With a total of eight hits, three of them in the first inning the Riggers had a hard time creating any momentum offensively.

“Their arms were really good and it was good to see before nationals. Obviously not the way we wanted it to end but they’re a strong team.”

On Tuesday night the Riggers lost 12-1 in Calgary and with the loss on Wednesday in Game 3, they dropped the best-of-three series.

At the start of the game, the Riggers got on the board first after a toss to first base was fumbled by the Rockies. That led to Jaret Chatwood advancing home from third base in the first inning.

However, the Rockies answered in the top of the second inning when they smoked a two-run home run over the right-field fence.

Shortly after, the Rockies knocked in another runner with a single to the outfield to lead 3-1.

On the top of the third, the Rockies kept building on their momentum and notched their fourth run of the game off a double.

That marked the end of starting pitcher Dustin Northcott’s night as Owen Harriott came in to begin the top of the fourth.

With no runners on in the fourth the Calgary Rockies hammered their second home run of the game to increase the lead to 5-1.

Riggers Austin Moore showed off his arm strength throwing out a runner at third base all the way from deep right field in the fifth. That was the Rockies’ first runless inning since the opening frame.

Harriott was pulled in the sixth inning after pitching two and one-third innings. Davin Gulbransen stepped in and gave up a run but closed the inning. He continued that magic into the seventh inning striking out three of four batters faced.

The Riggers had one final chance to rally in the final inning down five runs. Zach Olsen sent a moonshot over the left field fence to add two more runs but that’s as close as they’d get losing 6-3.

The Calgary Rockies will take on the Sherwood Park Athletics in the Sunburst League Finals in a best-of-five series beginning next week.

The Riggers Sunburst League season may have come to a close but they’re not done playing baseball yet.

From Aug. 24-27 the Riggers will host the 2023 Senior AAA Men’s National Championships at Great Chief Park.

“It’s kind of bittersweet getting prepared for that now,” he said. “We’ve got a few weeks now of practices so we’ll just get ready to go for that.”

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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