The Red Deer Riggers have high hopes for the 2018 season.
The Riggers are Alberta’s lone representative at the Senior Men’s Baseball Canada Nationals coming up this summer in Victoria, B.C. After taking home bronze last year, the team is hungry for more.
“We had an exciting finish to the season last year and it’s nice to know we went to Nationals with pretty much our own team and competed the whole way,” said Jason Chatwood, coach and shortstop.
Chatwood said being the only Alberta team, they have the ability to pick up any player and strengthen their roster.
“We already have a strong roster to start,” he said. “It puts us in a pretty good spot. Guys are hungry and excited. We have a really good group of guys.”
Chatwood said their Sunburst Baseball League roster from last season is mostly intact, with a few new faces possibly joining the fold after the universities and colleges finish up their year.
If all goes well weather wise, the Riggers will open the Sunburst league season on May 15 at Great Chief Park against the Confederation Park Cubs.
Their second game of the season on May 22 will be against the Calgary Dinos, a new addition to the league this season.
Chatwood said the group is confident heading into the year and with mostly the same mix which includes six SBL All-Stars from last season, he likes their chances of repeating as the provincial champs.
“As you get older, you start to understand your roles and you do it the best you can, whatever you can do to help the team,” Chatwood said.
“It’s exciting coming off last year and knowing we’re going to Victoria again is a comfortable feeling… once we can get outside it’ll turn up even more.”
Last year the Riggers took the provincial crown with a 3-1 win in Game 3 of a best-of-three series with the Sherwood Park A’s.
Chatwood said the plan is for the team to have one more indoor workout this weekend and hopefully get outside the following week.
First pitch for Game 1 on May 15 will be 7:30 p.m. at Great Chief Park. For the full season schedule go to www.ballcharts.com/team/?team=rdriggers&pg=schedule