The Red Deer Riggers Baseball Club were handed their first two defeats on Sunday against Sherwood Park Athletics and the Confederation Cubs.
The Riggers played a tight 7-8 loss to the Athletics and were right in it against the Cubs until the sixth inning when the Cubs loaded the bases on a Riggers’ throwing error – leading to a two-out grand slam by Athletics’ player Ryan Murphy. The Riggers would eventually fall 7-1 to the Cubs.
“It wasn’t really what we planned with the rain and weather on Saturday,” Riggers’ short-stop Jason Chatwood said. “We had a couple tight games yesterday that we ended up on the wrong end.”
Despite the losses, Chatwood didn’t think the Riggers played too bad, with only a couple mistakes that led to the grand slam against the Cubs.
“We had an chance early on to get out of the inning,” he said. “They found a way to string some runs together and it ended up leading to them hitting a grand slam. It was one of those baseball things where you give someone an extra chance, they end up putting something together. Overall, I feel we played pretty solid for the most part other then a couple spots here and there. I didn’t feel like we were out of the games.”
After starting the season 7-0, Chatwood feels the Riggers can learn from these games and also can also adjust to both the Athletics and Cubs – who they will be competing against all season.
“Both of those teams are off to a good start, which is good because we will see them lots throughout the year,” he said. “When we had such a good start, it is easy for teams to get up to play against us – especially when we were undefeated. They wanted to give us our first losses. We see them enough throughout the year, which gives us a chance to make some adjustments on a couple guys and maybe pitch a couple guys differently.”
He added his team needs to do the, “Same thing as other teams do against us – you have your game plan and you go from there.”
At 7-2, the Riggers are still in the drivers seat of their season according to Chatwood.
“For the most part, I feel like our defence and pitching has been very solid,” he said. “Our hitting has been consistent top to bottom in the line-up. We haven’t had to rely on certain guys – we have had lots of guys come up and get big hits. If you look at our couple losses where our defence is normally sound, we gave up a couple extra outs and that is what hurt us. I felt like our pitchers pitched really good yesterday.”
The game against the Cubs saw the Cubs steal several hits from the Riggers with great fielding plays.
“We had a lot of balls hit very hard that they made some really good plays on. If those go our way, then those games could be a different results,” Chatwood said. “If we get guys on, we can manufacture runs. As a team, we don’t strike out much and we do a good job of getting the ball in play.”
Chatwood added the field crew deserves a lot of credit for ensuring the field was ready for Sunday after the rainy conditions.