The Red Deer Riggers showed some rust in the Sunburst Baseball League season opener.
With a short bench and some players playing out of position, the Riggers struggled in a 9-3 loss to the Edmonton Confederation Park Cubs at Great Chief Park Tuesday.
Edmonton pitcher Dirk Dumbroski had the home side off-balance most of the night, throwing a complete game and allowing only six hits, with one strikeout.
“He was throwing strikes, I mean it was our first game of the year we’ve only been outside a few times. Guys are still working on some stuff and trying to get their reps in. I think we hit the ball fairly well, just have to clean it up in a few places,” said shortstop Jaret Chatwood, who had two hits in the loss.
“We were a little short tonight, missing some guys for work or various reasons. A little short, but hopefully in the next few weeks guys start getting back.”
After falling behind 3-0 after four innings, Chatwood kick-started the comeback with a double in the gap. Back-to-back RBI groundouts by Ty Russell and Josh Edwards got the Riggers within one.
In the top of the fifth, James Felderhof had a two-RBI double to extend the Cubs advantage.
Again the Riggers started to battle back, with the bases loaded in the bottom of the inning only they failed to cash any runs.
That proved costly in the sixth, as Edmonton scored four to extend the advantage to 9-3.
Jordan Wong started on the mound for the Riggers and pitched five solid innings. He allowed five runs on six hits while striking out seven and walking five.
Aaron Deathridge relieved Wong in the sixth, but struggled and only managed to get one out. He left the game with an injury.
Davin Gulbransen cleaned up the final inning and two-thirds for the Riggers. The veteran allowed two runs on three hits and had a strikeout.
Veteran reliever Joel Peterman was forced into action at second base for the Riggers on the night and usual starting pitcher Josh Edwards played first base.
“We had some guys in positions they don’t usually play, so I think overall hitting-wise, we did fairly well,” Chatwood added.
The Riggers play Sherwood Park Wednesday and in Edmonton Monday, before a home date with the Cubs on May 28.