Depth is one of those uncontrollable issues for a sports team.
Either you have it or you don’t and this year’s edition of the Red Deer Riggers senior baseball team has depth in the right places .
“We have a lot of pitching, we’re real deep defensively,” said player/manager Curtis Bailey. “We’ve got infielders who can step in when the starters aren’t playing. Same with the outfielders, everyone is contributing at the plate so it’s been great.”
The depth factor revealed itself in a couple of recent wins for the Riggers when they had three pitchers playing positions and they beat St. Albert 3-2, facing former major leaguer Mike Johnson on the mound.
“A few days later we go up to Spruce Grove and we have 11 players with pitchers playing here and there and we win another 3-2 game,” said Bailey.
“It’s one of those character wins that I think we’re starting to believe in ourselves that we don’t need to have the best guys out here but what we have we’re going to compete with and do well.”
He says players are very relaxed at the plate and can be slotted into the lineup at any time where more often than not they produce a hit and an RBI to help the cause.
The numbers don’t lie as the Riggers top the Sunburst League with a 9-3 record at press time, two games ahead of last year’s champion from Fort Saskatchewan.
One challenge facing the Riggers is the weather and to this point there are three rained out games which will be made up at the end of July.
Bailey says those rainouts also make it tough for the pitching staff to stay sharp.
“You get pitchers throwing three innings and then three weeks later they throw three innings so it’s tough that way.”
Bailey says the gap between games due to weather also prevents players from really getting into the groove and putting up some good numbers in the season but all the teams seem to be facing that this year.
The top four teams in the five team league make the playoffs in the Sunburst League.
The Riggers finished third last year with an 8-6 record.