The Red Deer Riggers came up short of their goal at the Canadian Men’s Senior AAA National Championships but overall the tournament was a great success for the community.
“It’s been one of the better tournaments that I’ve ever been to and for all the feedback we’ve gotten it’s been great,” Riggers manager Jaret Chatwood said.
“We’ve really put Red Deer on the map nationally and it’s been awesome… I couldn’t be happier with the committee and our team.”
The Riggers were eliminated from medal contention on Saturday after losing to Quebec 8-5 in their fourth and final game. Quebec took a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning but the Riggers tied it in the third.
However, Quebec retook the lead scoring five runs in the next three innings to take a commanding lead. The Riggers added two more in the seventh but couldn’t complete the comeback.
Riggers Tyler McWillie led the way with three hits and four RBIs. On the mound, Rees DeRuyter threw for three and two third innings and struck out four batters.
From opening day on Thursday, Aug. 24 throughout the four-day tournament, the Riggers went 1-3 against the top teams in Canada missing the quarterfinals.
Despite their record, the Riggers were in the mix to win all of their games and felt like they gave it their all.
“I couldn’t be more proud of our guys. We were really competitive every single game and we had opportunities to win each game,” he said.
“I think we showed our fans we were right there with the best teams in the country… This tournament is some of the best baseball that people can see.
“Every player here is phenomenal. There are ex-professional players and current college guys. It’s a wide variety of players and everyone is really good. I think we gave the fans everything we had and we can hang our hats on a high note.”
The last time the Riggers were in nationals was in 2018 and shortly after put in a bid to host the tournament. After plenty of planning and fundraising Red Deer was able to bring a national tournament to the community.
Chatwood explained they have the potential to put in another bid to host the National Championships again. Not only did the fans show up but those involved praised the facilities.
“I think the boys soaked it all in pretty good,” Chatwood said.
“These events are awesome and I want to say the Friday night game when we played Nova Scotia was the most amount of people I’ve ever seen at Great Chief Park. It was so fun to play.”