When the New Richmond Millers open the 2013 Wisconsin Baseball Association state playoffs on Saturday, they will be going into the game as underdogs.
That isn't going to cause the Millers to alter their style in the least. The Millers will face the Everest Merchants at noon on Saturday in Coon Valley, which is located near La Crosse. Everest comes out of the Dairyland League, which includes the Wausau-Stevens Point area. The Merchants finished 12-2 in league play. The Millers finished 8-7 in the St. Croix Valley League.
Everest is a one seed for the Coon Valley regional tournament while New Richmond is a fourth seed. The two other teams in New Richmond's bracket at Coon Valley are the Eau Claire Bears and Coon Valley. The winners in Saturday's games will play at noon on Sunday. The winner of Sunday's game qualifies for the WBA state tournament, which will be played in Osceola on Aug. 16-18.
New Richmond manager Ryan Stephens said the team will continue to take the approach that has worked all season for the Millers. The Millers will utilize a strong defensive lineup behind pitcher Hayden Zimmerman in hopes of limiting Everest's scoring chances.
Zimmerman is the key to the Millers' chances in the playoff opener. He has proven to be a legitimate staff ace who gives the Millers a strong chance to win each time he takes the mound. So far this season, Zimmerman is 6-2 with a 1.49 earned run average. He has struck out 105 batters in 72 innings, while walking just 16 batters.
Everest will provide one of the most rigid tests Zimmerman has faced this season. The Everest lineup is dotted with players from college rosters from UW-Oshkosh, UW-Stout, UW-Stevens Point, Winona State and several others.
Teams are able to draft one player for the playoffs from a team that didn't qualify for the playoffs. New Richmond selected Jonah Lansing as their additional player. Lansing is a left-handed hitter from Elmwood with some pop and he can play either corner infield position.