Riggers blanked by host Ironmen

CHATHAM, N.B. — The Red Deer Riggers bats went cold against a red-hot pitcher and his supporting cast Friday.

Ironmen 3 Riggers 0

CHATHAM, N.B. — The Red Deer Riggers bats went cold against a red-hot pitcher and his supporting cast Friday.

The end result was a 3-0 loss to the host Chatham Ironmen in the Baseball Canada national senior men’s championship tournament.

The Riggers, who fell to 1-1, were limited to four hits by Chatham hurler Jean Francois Neveu, who got solid support from his infielders.

“We hit the ball right at guys and they made some good defensive plays. But we also hit into about four double plays, which didn’t help either,” said Riggers playing manager Curtis Bailey.

The game was scoreless when it was postponed in the fourth inning due to rain. When the contest resumed after a three-hour delay, the host squad scored twice in the bottom of the inning and then added an insurance run in the fifth.

The Ironmen, who improved to 1-1, didn’t beat up on Riggers pitcher Josh Edwards — who allowed only five hits — but their batters were able to find holes.

“Both pitchers had a good pace going before the rain delay,” said Bailey. “Edwards had thrown something like 25 pitches, so he was throwing well with a good pace and a good rhythm.”

Patrick Godin led the Ironmen with two hits, including a double, and teammate Kris Keating drove in two runs. Jason Chatwood, Tom Muhlethaler, Jason Louis and Curtis Mazurkewich each had a hit for Red Deer, while each team committed one error.

“Our pitchers have thrown really well and that’s been our strength so far,” said Bailey. “Dustin (Northcott) threw a great game yesterday and Edwards was great today.

“Our pitchers have done well and we’ve hit the ball well for the most part, but right at guys.”

Red Deer, in Pool A, closes out round-robin play with a pair of games today — at 8 a.m. MDT versus the Kamloops, B.C., Sun Devils, and at 2 p.m. MDT against the Sydney, N.S., Sooners.

The Riggers will guarantee themselves a quarter-final berth with a pair of victories and Bailey feels that a split, which would leave the team with a 2-2 record, might be good enough to snare a playoff spot.

“Maybe if we win one of two we can still be in good shape, but that all depends on other teams,” he said.

In Friday’s other games, Kamloops improved to 2-0 with a 7-3 win over Sydney, the Fredericton, N.B., Royals boosted their record to 2-0 by defeating the Saskatchewan champion Saskatoon Smokin’ Guns 6-3, Quebec hammered 0-3 Saskatoon 9-3 and the Tecumseh, Ont., Thunder improved to 1-1 with a 5-1 win over the 1-2 Brandon Cloverleafs.

The Ironmen tangled with 1-1 Sydney in the late game.

The second- and third-place teams — in a cross-over format — in each pool will play in today’s quarter-finals at 6 p.m. MDT. The semifinals are set for 7 a.m. and 10 a.m. MDT Sunday, to be followed by the bronze-medal game at 1:30 p.m. MDT and the gold-medal contest at 4:30 p.m. MDT.

gmeachem@reddeeradvocate.co

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