Riggers win first game of nationals

The Red Deer Riggers endured a five-hour rain delay Thursday, then struck for three runs in the first inning and rolled to a 7-2 win over the Ilderton, Ont., Red Army in the Canadian senior

Riggers 7 Red Army 2

DARTMOUTH, N.S. — The Red Deer Riggers endured a five-hour rain delay Thursday, then struck for three runs in the first inning and rolled to a 7-2 win over the Ilderton, Ont., Red Army in the Canadian senior baseball championship.

Brent Lazzarotto went the distance on the Riggers’ mound, allowing eight hits and no earned runs while walking two batters and fanning three.

“Brent struck out the last guy in the sixth and then two guys in the seventh. He threw 100 pitches in the game, 26 of them were in the first inning and then he only threw only 74 in the next six,” said Riggers president/GM Dwayne Lalor.

“He got good after the start. He didn’t know what time zone we were in and then the delayed start . . . he was in control and pitched a great game for us.”

Red Deer collected nine hits off Red Army pitcher Jordan Townshend, with Jason Chatwood cracking a two-run homer in the sixth inning and Kerry Boon cracking a two-run single.

Mike Ronnie and Matt Fay each had two hits for the Riggers.

“Defensively we didn’t make any errors, so that makes life a whole lot easier,” said Lalor. “We hit the ball hard. We had four or five guys that really drove the ball, so we’d like to keep that going. They threw a left-hander at us and we handled him well. They are the No. 2 team out of Ontario and they’re a very solid ball club.”

The Riggers take on British Columbia and Nova Scotia today, and wrap up pool play Saturday against New Brunswick. The playoffs are scheduled to start Saturday evening and continue Sunday, with the bronze-medal and gold-medal games at 12:30 and 4 p.m. MST.

“The first game of the tournament you want to get that win and we were able to get a win. If we can get another couple of wins tomorrow then that will get us into the playoff round. Playing the B.C. champion first thing in the morning . . . we’ll have to be ready to play. They’re 0-1 and they know what’s at stake for them. You only have four games in the round robin, so if you go to 0-2 it’s going to be tough. So they’re going to come out ready to go and we’re going to have to do the same thing.”

In other games Thursday, Newfoundland and Labrador edged Manitoba 2-1, New Brunswick blanked British Columbia 4-0, host Dartmouth beat Windsor, Ont., 4-2 and Manitoba shaded the defending national champion Fort Saskatchewan Athletics 4-3.