The Red Deer Riggers are battling the St. Albert Tigers in the Sunburst Baseball League playoffs. (Advocate File Photo)

The Red Deer Riggers are battling the St. Albert Tigers in the Sunburst Baseball League playoffs. (Advocate File Photo)

Red Deer Riggers ready for Sunburst League playoffs

Riggers will play Tigers on Monday

After a successful 2022 regular season in the Sunburst League, the Red Deer Riggers are headed back to the postseason.

In the opening round, the Riggers will play the St. Albert Tigers with home-field advantage on their side.

Game 1 is set for Monday at Great Chief Park at 7:30 p.m. and on Wednesday they’ll head to St. Albert for game two. If a third game is needed, the Riggers will return home to Great Chief Park to decide the series.

“I think we got a pretty good shot at it. Our games have been really competitive with them we played them five times and we won three out of the five,” said Riggers manager Jaret Chatwood. “We’re kind of just coming into the prime of our season. We had a really good tournament and then a pretty good finish to the end of the year so It’s going to be a good matchup.”

The Riggers finished second in the league and the Edmonton Cubs and St. Albert Tigers tied for third in the standings. The Tigers won the tiebreaker to claim third in the league and a date with the Riggers. On the other side, the league-best Sherwood Park Athletics will play the Edmonton Cubs with the winner of each series moving on to the finals.

“I know some people look at like who’s pitching game, game two, game three,” he said. “Our approach is more we have to win game one right so we’re going all out for game one. Got to get that first one under our belt and then we’re pretty fortunate to have a lot of pitching this season so after we get game one we’ll come together and figure out who’s going game two and then just look at it that way.”

The Riggers have had a consistent showing of fans at their games in Red Deer this season and Chatwood is hoping for more of the same Monday evening.

“With the increase in popularity of baseball with the Gulls being around and how well we’ve been playing and with Nationals coming up, I think people are starting to get a little bit of the buzz. We’re hoping that playoffs bring out a bunch of people,” Chatwood added.

Looking back at the regular season Chatwood was happy with how they played and how the Riggers battled throughout the summer.

“We had some injuries throughout the year and some guys really stepped up and took leadership of the group. We just had some younger kids join the team and they fit in really well. And It’s been pretty solid throughout the regular season so now that everyone’s back to healthy everyone’s just pretty excited for playoffs,” he said.

Chatwood added the team is fortunate enough to draw a lot of players from central Alberta and has had success in the past adding players who have played high-level baseball. They also have those who are part of their core group who played through the minor baseball system in Red Deer and stuck around in the community.

“The coaching staff and everyone who does the recruiting has done a pretty good job,” he said.

On Monday night Chatwood said they’re going to start Josh Edwards on the mound as he has been their “workhorse” the last few years.

“He’s been our ace so we’re going to give him the ball in game one and then make adjustments where we need to,” Chatwood explained.

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