Millers turn from timid to terrors
Ten days off changed the New Richmond Millers from timid to terrors.
The Millers got back into St. Croix Valley League contention last Wednesday by popping Menomonie 4-2.
The win raised the Millers' record to 2-3. The Millers have played the fewest league games of any team in the SCVL so they can still remedy the slow start they had.
If they continue to play like they did against Menomonie, the Millers will be tough to stop. With sharp pitching, steady defense and a hustling offense, the Millers were the complete package in beating one of the Northern Division leaders.
Three runs in the first inning got the team charged up. Tony Amundson led off the bottom of the first with a double to the base of the fence in leftfield. Amundson scored on a single by Scott Emerson.
Aggressive baserunning by Emerson got him into position to score on a wild pitch. Aaron Frei walked and he scored when Matt Peterson singled.
The Millers added another run in the third inning. Hayden Zimmerman was on second when Frei singled. When he saw the outfielder bobble the ball, Zimmerman scored on the play.
That was all the help Zimmerman would need. He mowed down the Menomonie hitters with little trouble, giving up five hits and one earned run in the game.
It was good that Zimmerman pitched well, because he was the only pitcher the Millers had available for the game.
A sharp defensive play got the Millers out of a big jam in the fifth inning. Menomonie had runners on the corners and tried a delayed double steal. Peterson, the Millers' catcher, threw down to shortstop Corey Berger. Berger chased the runner back toward first, baiting the runner on third. When the runner on third took off Berger fired home, where Peterson put down the tag. The runner on first then tried to take second and Peterson fired down to second base to complete the rare double play.
Red Wing tournament
The strong play continued for the Millers in the Red Wing tournament over the weekend.
The Millers arrived late for their first game in the tournament, last Thursday against Hastings, because they got caught in road construction. With almost no warmup time, the Millers went out and beat Hastings 5-4.
Cody Torkelson continued to stake his claim to the number two spot in the pitching rotation by throwing a complete game. Hastings got all four of its runs in the sixth inning, to take a 4-1 lead.
The Millers used stealth on the bases and a couple big hits to come back. Emerson got on base to lead off the seventh, then stole two bases. Amundson followed with a walk.
Jon Will lined a two-run double down the third base line, cutting the margin to 4-3. Zimmerman then put the Millers in front with one swing of the bat. The Hastings pitcher tried to sneak an 0-2 fastball past Zimmerman. He didn't succeed. Zimmerman hit a towering shot that rode the wind over the leftfield fence for a two-run homer.
Torkelson finished off the game, including picking a runner off first base in the ninth inning.
In the semifinals of the tournament the Millers lost to the Rochester Royals 3-1. Rochester went on to win the tournament, beating Red Wing 10-1 for the title.
Frei was given a rare pitching start against Rochester and it might not be his last. Rochester scored all three of its runs in the fifth inning. Berger came on it relief and shut down Rochester the rest of the way.
The only Miller run was scored in the eighth inning. Frei led off with a double and scored on Ryan Telschow's single. The Millers did have other scoring chances, leaving 10 runners on base.
The Millers ran out of pitching for the third place game and lost to the Cannon Falls Bears 12-2 on Sunday. The Millers thought they had a pitcher coming up from the Senior Legion team to pitch Sunday. When he didn't show, manager Ryan Stephens had to take the mound. He kept the Millers in the game until Cannon Falls busted through with six runs in the sixth inning.
The Millers will play another division game this Wednesday, facing the St. Croix Falls River Bandits at Citizens Field at 7:30 p.m.
On Sunday the Millers hit the road, playing a non-league game at Exeland at 1 p.m. The Millers will be back home next Wednesday, facing Plum City at 7:30 p.m. in a SCVL contest.