HARD HIT - Pictured here is Coach Curtis Bailey of the Red Deer Riggers during a game back in 2013.

The Red Deer Riggers work towards championship

The Red Deer Riggers Senior Mens’ baseball team took to the road last Monday night to take on the Sherwood Park Athletics who are placed first in the league.

Coach Curtis Bailey said the game was going well heading into the eighth inning with the Riggers being up a number of runs.

“Josh Edwards was throwing really well up into the eighth but you could tell he was starting to get tired,” explained Bailey. “So we brought up Joel Peterman to save the game and after a few good hits from the Athletics, a few walks and a few throws that hit batters and suddenly we were down.”

The Riggers ended the inning with a loss on the board of 7-6 following a five run give up in the eighth inning despite a home run from Kerry Boon.

Bailey added the team was doing well with a lot of momentum early in the game with Edwards showing excellent command over his pitches.

“He was really dominating with his off speed pitches – his curveball and his change up – and from a guy who hurt himself early last season and didn’t pitch he really came back with a vengeance this year.”

Although the Riggers started the season strong with an early 5-1 mini-streak, Bailey said the last three weeks have been tough on the team following a 1-3 record at a weekend series in Edmonton.

“Since then we’ve been rather inconsistent and with a few of our starters missing it can really affect our game – I don’t think we’ve been focused enough as a team to compete for a full nine innings every game.”

The bar may be set high for the Riggers following their 2013 and 2014 provincial championship titles which has also led to the Riggers representing Team Alberta at the 2015 Senior Mens’ National Championship in Chatham, New Brunswick.

“Although last night was a bad loss late in the game we played really well leading up to that and hopefully we can build on the fact we are still moving forward as a team,” said Bailey who added they have a long road ahead of them to prepare for playoffs, provincials and nationals. “You get on that national stage it doesn’t matter what happened in league because if you’re not playing your best baseball then you’re not going to win games.

“We have a very strong team and a very talented team but if we can’t put it all together to win baseball games and play consistently good baseball then we don’t deserve to win.”

Following their game last Monday evening in Sherwood Park, the Riggers took to the field again Tuesday but this time for their annual ‘Day With The Riggers’ camp for local kids ages nine to 18.

“It’s a free baseball clinic that allows local athletes the chance to learn from our players, a lot of who have played college or pro-ball,” explained Bailey. “These guys have been playing ball a long time and it’s just a great way we’ve found to be able to give back to a community that supports us so well.”

The Riggers’ next game will be on the road July 3rd as they return north to take on the St. Albert Tigers. Following three weeks of league play the Riggers will host their annual tournament beginning July 17th at 7:30 p.m. at Great Chief Park with games going all weekend and teams gathering from across the province.

jswan@reddeerexpress.com