New Richmond MIllers show signs of life as they battle Ellsworth
Saturday’s clash with the Ellsworth Hubbers didn’t produce a win, but there was clearly a shift in attitude from the New Richmond Millers.
The Millers lost to the Hubbers 10-7, but the Millers seemed to be playing with a refreshed, positive approach to the game. The Millers haven’t beaten Ellsworth in seven seasons, so the loss isn’t going to do much damage to their hopes of reaching the Wisconsin Baseball Association playoffs at the end of the season. The Millers are now 2-4 in the St. Croix Valley Baeball League, but hope to be to the .500 level by the end of the week. The Millers host St. Croix Falls at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday at Citizens Field in a league game. The Millers also play a 1 p.m. contest at Elmwood on Sunday. The Millers step outside the league schedule for a game at Osceola’s Oakey Park on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. The Millers will face the Oakey Owls, an over-35 team including players from throughout the area.
Ellsworth took a 3-0 lead in the opening two innings against the Millers on Saturday. The Miller offense hit the ball with authority all night, starting in the bottom of the second. Josh Leavens and Riley Kannel led off with singles. Zac Parfitt followed by ripping a chest-high pitch over the leftfield fence for a three-run homer.
“Parfitt is a pretty strong kid,” Millers manager Ryan Stephens said of one of his new recruits.
The Millers added another run in the third inning on singles by Jon Will and Curt Kleinschmidt and Leavens’ sacrifice fly.
Ellsworth took charge with three runs in the fourth inning and four more in the sixth, but the Millers never stopped attacking. The Millers got an RBI single in the fifth inning from Mitch Paquin, driving home Kyle Miller, who led off with a walk.
The return of Hayden Zimmerman paid dividends in the sixth inning. Zimmerman ripped a two-run double that cut Ellsworth’s lead to 10-7. Zimmerman has been cleared to start doing some pitching after his elbow injury earlier this season.
The Millers’ attempt at a comeback was cut short. The rain had been coming down since the fifth inning, but it picked up in intensity in the seventh inning, forcing the game to be ended at that time.
Coleman Roskam got the pitching start for the Millers. Roskam, sporting a beard that would fit in on Duck Dynasty, was in trouble in nearly every inning.
Stephens said he was pleased with the effort and spark the Millers showed in this game, along with their better execution of bunts and moving players into scoring position.
“They’re understanding the concept,” Stephens said. “Everybody’s started contributing. The lineup was solid.”