Riggers dump A’s in final

The Red Deer Riggers appear to be on the right track as they head toward the provincial senior baseball championships.

Fort Saskatchewan A Jason Sutherland arrives at third just ahead of the ball and Red Deer Rigger Delton Kruk in the final of the Riggers Tournament at Great Chief Park

Riggers 4 A’s 3

The Red Deer Riggers appear to be on the right track as they head toward the provincial senior baseball championships.

The Riggers, who are one of seven teams entered in the provincials, looked sharp Sunday afternoon as they recorded a 4-3 victory over the defending provincial champion Fort Saskatchewan A’s in the final of the 29th annual Riggers tournament at Great Chief Park.

“That’s what I like to see at this time of the season,” said Riggers playing manager Curtis Bailey. “We were spreading the hitting around and we got three strong pitching performances this weekend.”

The Riggers opened the tournament with a 7-4 win over the St. Albert Tigers with James Dykstra on the mound, then downed the Calgary Redbirds 9-2 behind Denver Wik Saturday.

It was Brent Lazzarotto’s turn to go the distance Sunday.

He started a bit slow, allowing a run and three hits in each of the first two innings. He gave up a hit in the third, then shut the door until the seventh, when he allowed a run on two hits.

“Brent adjusted as the game wore on and gave us a chance to come back,” said Bailey. “As well we did some of the things we need to do to score, plus our defence was solid.”

The Riggers tuned only one double play, but the outfield defence was a key as Wik, in right field, made a sliding catch and also made a perfect throw to the plate in the sixth inning to prevent Matt Beaudry from scoring.

But the play of the game was made by centre fielder Aaron Graves, who made a spectacular leaping, diving catch off Andy Herman with one on and none out in the seventh.

“That was as hard a hit ball as there was all game,” said Graves. “It just seemed to take off. It would have hit the fence if I didn’t get it.”

After falling behind 2-0, the Riggers tied the game with run-scoring singles by Bailey and Dwayne Lalor off starter and loser Karnie Vertz in the second inning. They grabbed the lead in the sixth on a two-run single by Bailey against a drawn-in infield.

Bailey and Jaret Chatwood had two hits each for the Riggers and Andy and Ben Herman and Beaudry had two each for the A’s.

Meanwhile, the Red Deer Stags finished with a 2-1 record, downing the Tigers 5-0 in the third-place game.

Chad Marchand went the distance, scattering four hits while fanning three. The Stags managed just four hits of their own, but two were solo home runs by Kevin Curran and Jason Fraser against losing pitcher Craig Tomas.

“I thought we had a few more hits, but the nice thing was we made the most of our opportunities,” said Stags manager Dan Zinger. “Except for the first game (a 10-1 loss to the A’s Saturday morning), we had a good tournament. I thought overall we played with confidence and we should feel good heading into the provincials.”

The Stags other win was a 3-1 decision over the U19 Team Alberta squad that’s preparing for the Canada Summer Games.

“Winning a pair of close games as in the provincials it’s always close and you need to be able to handle the tight situations,” added Zinger.

l The Calgary Redbirds edged Team Alberta 2-1 to take fifth place . . . Team Alberta has Harold Northcott of Rocky Mountain House as the head coach with Dwayne Lalor and Darcy Warawa as assistants . . . Chad Northcott and Joel Peterman, both of whom play for the Riggers, are on the provincial team . . . The senior provincials are expected to start either Aug, 3 or 4.

drode@bprda.wpengine.com

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