The Red Deer Riggers split their games on Friday to put themselves in a must-win situation on Saturday at the 2023 Canadian Men’s National Championship.
In the early afternoon, the Riggers blew out the CBS Raiders (Team Newfoundland and Labrador) 11-1 at Great Chief Park.
Riggers starting pitcher Halen Knoll was great on the mound holding the Raiders to just two hits in four innings of work. Meanwhile, JP Wilner was the Riggers’ top hitter after recording a home run and scoring three runs on three at-bats.
On Friday night, the Riggers let the game slip away against the Kentville Wildcats (Nova Scotia) 5-3 in extra innings.
After Kentville went up 2-1 in the top of the sixth inning Zach Olson put the Riggers up 3-2 with a two-run home run in the bottom of the sixth. The Wildcats went on to tie it in the seventh inning and the game had to be solved in extra innings.
In extra innings, the Wildcats took a 5-3 lead in the top of the eighth inning off a pair of hits to the outfield. The Riggers pushed in the bottom half but were unable to score any more runs.
Riggers Tyler McWillie pitched six and one-third of an inning before Kai Poffenroth was brought in for the final two frames.
Riggers manager Jaret Chatwood said they put themselves in good opportunities to win but they let it slip away. The Riggers are now 1-2 at nationals with one game remaining in round-robin play.
“That’s what happens in this tournament. It’s a tough one to win,” he said.
“Tomorrow is a must-win so we’ve got to come out and take care of business. It’s probably going to come down to some mathematical formula but we have to win to put ourselves even in the mix.”
The Riggers will take on Team Quebec at 11 a.m. on Saturday with both quarterfinals matchups set to take place at 6 p.m. and 7 p.m.
Also on Friday the Sherwood Park Athletics beat B.C. 10-0 and New Brunswick were victorious over Manitoba 9-2. Ontario won a close battle over Nova Scotia 3-1 and B.C. beat Manitoba 7-1. Also, Saskatchewan blew out the Athletics 9-3.