Stags 17 Riggers 8
Red Deer Stags manager Danny Zinger had every right to be smiling Tuesday evening.
Not only did the Stags down the Red Deer Riggers 17-8 in their Sunburst Baseball League contest at Great Chief Park, but they did it by taking advantage of what they were given at the plate.
“One of our biggest problems over the years has been striking out and not taking advantage of what we’ve been given,” said Zinger.
“We challenged the guys this year to be more patient, take more pitches and put the ball into play. You do that and good things will happen.
“You watch the Riggers over the years and they don’t give many at-bats away. That’s what we have to do.”
Such was the case Tuesday, especially after the first three innings.
The Riggers, behind 19-year-old rookie pitcher Mac Girodat of Devon, grabbed a 2-0 lead after three innings, but the Stags settled down in the fourth, scoring three times.
“It seems that every time we face a pitcher we never seen before it takes us a couple of times to find a groove,” said Zinger.
“Tonight was no exception, but our middle of the order made the adjustments and got us going.”
The Riggers tied the game in the bottom of the third before the Stags counted three times in the fifth off reliever Jared Chatwood.
However, the Riggers tallied four times in the bottom of the fifth off Stags starter Davin Gulbransen, before the Stags gained control with seven runs in the sixth off Chatwood and Colin Hodgson.
“That was an inning where we put the ball in play and found the holes . . . just what we talked about,” said Zinger.
“They did a good job of hitting the ball and being aggressive on the bases and those two things are tough to beat,” said Riggers president and second baseman Dwayne Lalor.
“Eight runs should be enough to win, but we gave them some chances and they took advantage of them. Better than we did.”Gulbransen pitched five innings, allowing seven runs on 13 hits with James Carr working the final three innings in the game called after eight innings because of the eight-run mercy rule.
Carr allowed one run on three hits.
Girodat went four innings for the Riggers, allowing three runs on three hits — all in the fourth inning.
“He did a good job and showed he can pitch in this league,” said Lalor.
Chatwood, who struggled with his control, was credited with one inning of work before giving way to Hodgson with two on and none away in the sixth. Hodgson, who was making his first appearance of the season, pitched 2/3 of an inning, allowing seven runs — four earned — on four hits.
“It was tough for Colin as he hasn’t thrown at all this season and just joined us today,” said Lalor. “We kind of threw him to the wolves.”
James Dykstra got the final out in the sixth for the Riggers and pitched a hitless seventh before running into problems in the eighth, when he gave up four hits and hit batter and was credited with four runs against.
Joel Peterman got the final two outs on a double play when right-fielder Denver Wik threw Zinger out at the plate.
• Marshall MacDonald had an interesting day for the Stags with two hits and was hit three times . . . Kevin Curran, Shaun Connor, Dan Chappel and Zinger added two hits each . . . Delton Kruk and Matt Fay had three hits each for the Riggers with Lalor, Kerry Boon and Curtis Bailey adding two each . . . Jason Chatwood, who just finished his senior year at Gonzaga University, is expected to join the Riggers later this week . . . Riggers visit the St. Albert Junior Tabbies tonight and host the Stags again next Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. . . . The Stags are home Thursday against the Edmonton Angels and Saturday against the Calgary Redbirds . . . Both games are at 7:30 p.m.
Contact Danny Rode at email@example.com