Riggers heading to nationals as provincial champions

The Red Deer Riggers will be heading to the Baseball Canada Senior AAA Championships as reining provincial champions.

Riggers 6, Athletics 1

The Red Deer Riggers will be heading to the Baseball Canada Senior AAA Championships as reining provincial champions.

The Riggers wrapped up their second straight Alberta and Sunburst Baseball League title on Thursday in St. Albert, beating the Fort Saskatchewan Athletics 6-1 in Game 4 of the best-of-five series.

The Riggers have been untouchable all year with their first loss of the Sunburst season coming in Game 2 of the final to the A’s. The bounced back with a 10-1 win on Wednesday in Edmonton before putting it away on Thursday.

“It’s always tougher to repeat and go back-to-back,” said head coach Curtis Bailey. “We had a pretty strong team all year that stayed focused, and that made it a little easier to keep our eyes on our goals.”

Red Deer jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the first inning, chasing Fort Saskatchewan starter Connor Whitely from the game after a couple of innings. James Fischer came in and shut down the Riggers until the seventh inning, but Red Deer starter Davin Gulbransen was just as good.

The wiley veteran went the distance for Red Deer, keeping the A’s off the scoreboard until the seventh inning.

It was a game he refused to leave.

“After the fifth inning he said, ‘My arm’s throbbing,’ and I asked him, ‘Do you want to go one more,’ and he said ‘sure, why not?’” said Bailey. “They went three-up-three-down and he came back in and gave me a thumbs up, so I knew he was probably going to finish it. He did real well.”

Gulbransen did pitch in the Riggers 10-9 loss on Monday, coming in for 2 1/3 innings of relief work. He took a comebacker off the thigh, but finished out the inning. The leg did not appear to bother him on Thursday as, but it was the kind of effort the Riggers have come to expect from the right-hander.

“He’s pitched a lot, he’s a smart pitcher, he’s going to outsmart most hitters, and that’s what he did,” said Bailey.

“He was pretty bruised up, but he could bend and he could move. He’s had a lot of success against Fort Saskatchewan, so he seemed like the right choice to go with.”

The Riggers qualified for nationals in St. John’s, Nfld., from Aug. 21-25, by winning the league and provincial title last year. Repeating this year means they will be going to next year’s national championship as well. But it also means they will be going as a dominant team this year, not just as a dominant team in 2013.

“It’s good to get that momentum of having that high of winning provincials to bring that into nationals,” said Bailey.

Three Riggers will not be able to make the trip to St. John’s as pitchers Reign Letkeman, Matt Davis and Wyle Cunningham are staying home. In their place will be pitcher James Fischer from the A’s and Craig Tomas from the St. Albert Tigers and outfielder Aaron Dunsmore from the Parkland White Sox.

• The Sunburst Baseball League announced their all-star team on Thursday as well, and five Riggers were named to the team. Jason Chattwood was the league’s top shortstop, while his brother Jaret Chatwood was named the all-star catcher, Jason Louis was tabbed at first base, while Mike Ronnie got the call in left field. Bailey was also named head coach for the team.


Just Posted

WATCH: Rappelling down Red Deer’s Stantec Building a thrilling, scary experience

Advocate reporter chronicles his trip down the 13-storey buildling

Red Deer raises $60,000 for Make-A-Wish Foundation

27 brave residents rappell down Stantec Building

People hurt in rollover near Red Deer

Occupants of a vehicle that rolled south of Hwy 11A were airlifted… Continue reading

Eager-beaver cannabis entrepreneurs already waiting outside Red Deer City Hall

Appications will be accepted on a first-come basis starting on Tuesday

Like father like son: Red Deer area Dreeshen family dedicates life to public service

There are three jobs that could be considered the Dreeshen family business:… Continue reading

WATCH: Gazebo groundbreaking in Waskasoo

Fifty per cent of the $100,000 project is funded by a provincial government grant

Evacuation numbers remain at nearly 1,000 as B.C. wildfires rage on

SUMMERLAND, B.C. — Officials in British Columbia’s Okanagan region hope that fire… Continue reading

WWII hero’s lost Purple Heart returned to his family

NEW YORK — A lost Purple Heart medal has been returned to… Continue reading

California girl, 2, accidentally shot and killed by boy, 4

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. — Authorities say a 4-year-old boy accidentally shot and… Continue reading

A hairy issue: Sailors tell the US Navy, ‘We want beards’

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Now that women in the Navy can wear ponytails,… Continue reading

PHOTOS: River Town Saints rock Red Deer

River Town Saints play Westerner Days Friday in Red Deer

PHOTOS: Dogs, horses and more animals at Westerner Days

Westerner Park’s pavilions were filled with animals during Westerner Days

Red Deer residents can’t get enough mini-doughnuts

Mini-doughnuts were the biggest draw to Westerner Days according to a Red… Continue reading

Four-car crash, including RCMP vehicle, on Highway 2

Two sheriff vehicles were also involved in the collision

Most Read

Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month