American Legion baseball moving toward playoffs
Playoffs in American Legion baseball in Wisconsin begin this week.
New Richmond's Senior Legion has to overcome only one team to get to the Legion state tournament. New Richmond and Menomonie are the only teams in the U19AA Legion playoffs in this area. They will play a best-of-three tournament next week to decide which of the teams advances to state. Dates and locations for those games will be decided later this week.
The New Richmond Senior team split its four games over the past week. On Monday New Richmond lost to Altoona 4-0 at Citizens Field. New Richmond was limited to one hit in the game, a second inning double by Connor Hollern.
Justin Johnson provided another solid pitching effort, working the first six innings for New Richmond. He allowed one earned run.
New Richmond put together one of its strongest showings in recent weeks on Saturday, recording a 6-4 win over Eau Claire at Citizens Field. New Richmond took the lead three different times in the game. They scored the first run on a double by Jeremy Leavens in the second inning.
After Eau Claire took a 3-1 lead, New Richmond struck for three runs in the fifth inning. Zac Parfitt singled home the first run and the final two runs raced home on Adam Belisle's two-out bloop single.
Eau Claire tied the game in the sixth inning, but New Richmond struck right back. Hollern singled home Drew Durham and Hayden Nelson for the deciding runs.
Nelson pitched the first four innings allowing two earned runs. Parfitt worked the final three innings to get the win.
Last Tuesday New Richmond split a double-header with River Falls. New Richmond won the opening game 3-1, but lost the second 11-0.
Johnson was masterful pitching the opener, not allowing an earned run in the complete game six-hitter. River Falls threatened in the seventh inning, but the sharp Tiger infield defense turned a 5-4-3 double play to end the game.
New Richmond had three hits in the win, but they were timely. Keilan Mehls drove home New Richmond's first run on a fielder's choice in the second inning. With the game tied in the sixth inning Mehls struck again, singling home Nelson and Blake Higgins.
In the second game New Richmond could muster just one hit, a double from Drake Durham. Noah Berger, Elliott Smallidge and Kyle Shilts all pitched in the contest.
New Richmond Junior Legion
The New Richmond Junior Legion team finishes its regular season with a pair of upcoming double-headers before starting the state American Legion playoffs next week.
New Richmond will play at St. Croix Falls on Thursday, with the first game beginning at 5:30 p.m. New Richmond plays its final home games of the season next Tuesday when Grantsburg's team visits. The first game will start at 5:30 p.m.
New Richmond will be one of four teams competing in a Junior Legion regional playoff tournament in Chippewa Falls next week. The three-day tournament begins on Wednesday, July 18. New Richmond, Chippewa Falls, Altoona and Black River Falls will be trying to advance out of the double-elimination tournament. New Richmond's first game will be at 3 p.m. on July 18 against Black River Falls.
The Somerset Junior Legion team has locked up the title in the American Division of the HeartLake Legion League. Somerset defeated Unity last Friday 8-4 to raise Somerset's record to 14-0 in league play.
Coach Dion Langness' comments on the game were "most importantly we are on track to getting the team goals accomplished and continuing our program focus of skill development and meeting the guidelines related to teamwork, positive attitude, trust, commitment, integrity and honesty."
Jordan Langness singled home the first two Somerset runs. Somerset produced a run off a fifth inning triple by Drew Kelly. Hits by Alex Hite, Andy Peters and Ben Hammer and walks by Zack Waalen and Jake Kelcher resulted in the final four Somerset tallies.
It has been decided that Somerset will not attempt to qualify for the American Legion state tournament this year. Coach Langness said the reasoning for this decision was "we decided not to do Legion playoffs because we don't know when or where they will be located. We decided to focus on our league playoffs and extra developmental practices and local games."
Four local players were part of the Americans team that was defeated by the Nationals 1-0 in the 2012 HeartLake League All-Star Game played last Thursday at Oakey Park in Osceola.
Playing for the Americans were Caleb Manecke, Drake Durham and Brady Gaspord of New Richmond and Jake Mantalica of Somerset. The Americans team was made up of players from New Richmond, Somerset, Osceola, Unity, Baldwin, Grantsburg and Luck-Frederic. The Nationals were made up of boys from Amery, Barron, Cumberland, St. Croix Falls and Spring Valley.
The only run of the game was scored in the bottom of the seventh inning on a double by a player from Cumberland.