Millers trying to find successful 2009 form
Three games into the season, the New Richmond Millers have not yet found the form that made them a playoff team in 2009.
In Saturday's 5-1 loss to Ellsworth the Millers were not sharp in any of the game. This drops the Millers to 0-3 for the season. This was the second loss in St. Croix Valley League action.
Millers manager Ryan Stephens tried to find a bright side to the slow start. He said the Millers also lost games last season to Ellsworth and Elmwood, saying the slow start is something the team can recover from.
Ellsworth and Elmwood are in the Southern Division of the SCVL, so the Millers haven't lost any ground against any of their Northern Division rivals.
With four games in a five-day span this week, getting hot quickly is imperative for the Millers. That stretch starts with their first Northern Division game, at 7:30 p.m. this Wednesday at Menomonie. The Millers will play at home in a non-league game at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, against the Haugen Hornets.
The Millers face another division game on Saturday, when they play at 7 p.m. at Osceola. That's followed by a non-league game against the Exeland Braves at 1 p.m. on Sunday at Citizens Field. The Millers will also be at home next Wednesday at 7:30 p.m., taking on the Stillwater Loggers.
Saturday's game against Ellsworth didn't start well for the Millers. Miller pitcher Tim Brown walked the opening batter of the game, Nate Hove. Hove came around to score on a booming double to leftfield by cleanup hitter Jeremiah Paulson.
The Millers collapsed in the fourth inning. Scott DeWyre led off the inning with a single. He scored when Paulson doubled to almost the exact same spot as his first inning blast. The Miller defense furthered the problem by making errant throws on the next two ground balls that Brown could induce. A double by Jordan Zimmer brought home those runs and the Millers were facing a 5-0 deficit.
The Millers managed only five hits in the game, so comeback chances were scarce. They finally scored in the eighth inning on a walk by Scott Emerson and a double down the leftfield line by Tony Amundson. This was Amundson's first hit as a Miller.
Brown worked the first six innings, giving up five hits. The team received encouraging relief pitching from Cody Torkelson. He allowed one hit in the final three innings, striking out five, without walking a batter.