Riggers win opener at nationals

Riggers 4 Capitals 0 CHATHAM, N.B. — The Red Deer Riggers got superb pitching and timely hitting en route to a 4-0 win over the St. John’s Capitals in the Baseball Canada senior men’s national championship tournament Thursday.

Riggers 4 Capitals 0

CHATHAM, N.B. — The Red Deer Riggers got superb pitching and timely hitting en route to a 4-0 win over the St. John’s Capitals in the Baseball Canada senior men’s national championship tournament Thursday.

Red Deer pitcher Dustin Northcott held the Newfoundland/Labrador champions to three hits while recording eight strikeouts in a complete-game performance.

“Dustin threw real well for us,” said Riggers playing manager Curtis Bailey. “He had good command, good control throughout the game.”

The Riggers didn’t exactly light up Capitals pitchers Daniel Connors, who worked five innings, and Sean Janes, who came on in the sixth frame.

Connors held the Alberta representatives to four hits and was pitching a shutout until the home team struck for two runs in the fourth inning and then added two more in the fifth.

“I think we might have been a little bit anxious and we hit some balls hard at guys,” said Bailey. “But he (Connors) was around the plate.”

Bailey’s sacrifice fly in the fourth drove in the only run the Riggers needed. Lance Romanchuk led off with a double, advanced to third on Kerry Boon’s single and scored on Bailey’s fly ball to right field.

Boon then came home on a single by Denver Wik.

In the fifth frame, Romanchuk drew a two-out walk, Boon doubled and both scored on an error to Capitals first baseman David Buckingham. Mike O’Neil had two hits for Newfoundland/Labrador.

The Riggers take on the Chatham Ironmen today at 10 a.m. (MDT) and Bailey expects the host team to present a tough test.

“Chatham always has a good team and being the host team they will definitely have the support of their fans,” said Bailey. “They had 1,600 people at the home run derby last night so there should be a lot of people out tomorrow and it should be a good game.”

The Ironmen dropped an 8-3 decision to the Kamloops, B.C., Sun Devils in the opening game for both teams Thursday night.

In Thursday’s other contests, the Capitals fell 7-0 to the Nova Scotia champion Sydney Sooners, the Fredericton, N.B., Royals blanked the Brandon, Man., Cloverleafs 3-0, Quebec slipped past the Tecumseh, Ont., Thunder 1-0 and the Cloverleafs doubled the Saskatchewan champion Saskatoon Smokin’ Guns 6-3.

The Riggers play twice Saturday — versus Kamloops and Sydney — prior to the quarter-finals which are slated for later in the day. The semifinals, along with the bronze- and gold-medal games, will be played Sunday.

The championship final is slated for 4:30 p.m. MDT.

gmeachem@bprda.wpengine.com

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