The Red Deer Riggers held their home opener against the St. Albert Tigers down at Great Chief Park in what turned out to be a wet and very odd evening.
With clouds threatening throughout the day, the first pitch was thrown as planned — but the game would certainly not go to script, with a curious goose and her goslings remaining parked in the outfield near third base for the majority of the game.
The game was also called early after the umpire team deemed the field unplayable.
“It was sloppy on both ends, Manager Jason Chatwood said. “It is still only May and I think our ability to not be on the field much shows.”
Red Deer dug a hole for themselves early after Tiger Evan Hoffman sent a dinger beyond the fence to score two RBIs, putting the Riggers down 2-0 early.
Luckily, the home team managed to get out of the top of the inning to keep the score manageable.
In the bottom of the first, the Riggers were looking poised to strike after a Jason Louis single and two walks loaded the bases. The Tigers, however, managed to turn a 4-1 double play to strand three runners.
“We had some good at bats and good swings, but it is still early,” Chatwood said. “The hard thing is that we are all so competitive that we expect results right away and then you forget that you have only been outside four to five times and it is only the second game.”
The score would remain 2-0 until the third inning after a base-hit RBI by Hoffman and four walks leading to two runs, which led to a 5-0 lead.
The Riggers finally managed to get their bats going in the bottom of the third after Jason and Jaret Chatwood both scored runs and a Tiger error led to another, bringing the score to 5-3.
Red Deer would follow that up with two base-hit RBIs in the fifth inning, tying the game at 5-5.
The Tigers would answer back with another homerun in the seventh inning by Jessy Beley, putting St. Albert up 7-5. The Tigers, however, would give that all back in the bottom of the inning after three errors led to three Riggers runs, bringing the game to its final score of 8-7.
“We had a couple fortunate plays that went our way with a couple errors on their side and we ended up getting a couple runs to get ahead,” Chatwood said.
St. Albert would fail to score in the top of the eighth inning, followed by the umpire team calling the field unplayable due to the downpour.
“You get a little frustrated but it is still a win on the positive note,” Chatwood said. “We did some good things and we battled throughout. It is nice to see that.”
He added the team can win tough, scrappy games.
“A lot of our maturity and experience shows in those situations. We don’t get too up or too down and we just play it out,” he said.
The Riggers play Monday against the Confederation Cubs in Edmonton before returning home Tuesday for a 7:30 p.m. showdown against the Sherwood Park Athletics.
“Guys are getting ready and getting reps. It is obviously still serious but it is also about seeing some pitches and getting some reps, with innings pitched for pitchers,” Chatwood said.