Old Abes tough on Tigers
The difference between having 20 games in for Eau Claire Memorial's spring team, compared to one full practice in for New Richmond's summer team, showed last Tuesday when these two teams met in New Richmond's season opener.
Memorial pounded out six runs in the top of the first inning. The Tigers gradually settled in, but Memorial was able to put away a 10-0 win in five innings.
The Old Abes came into the game with a reputation as an excellent hitting team and they lived up to their reputation. The first two batters of the game crushed triples to the right-centerfield alley. Later in the first inning another Old Abe nearly pulled a homer over the fence down the rightfield line, settling for the third triple of the inning.
"You could tell the difference," New Richmond coach John Ball said about the comparative season difference. "They were well disciplined hitters. You throw out that first inning and it's a 4-0 game."
The Tigers had four hits in the game. Two were produced by senior catcher Nolan Swinghamer. Blake Berger and Matt Knutson each had one hit.
Tyler Stoeklen, Berger and Brady Powers each got time in on the mound for the Tigers.
"It showed us where we want to be when we reach our 20th game," Ball said of the loss. "We were using the game as a teaching tool. We hadn't worked against any live pitching or hitting at all."
The game was arranged earlier this spring when Memorial saw that they might face a wait of 10 days or longer between the end of its regular season and the start of the WIAA playoffs. Ball said the game showed the Tigers the level they need to play at if they expect to be one of the top summer teams in the area.
The Tigers jump into a very busy schedule this week. On Thursday the Tigers will play at Glenwood City in a 6 p.m. start. The Tigers will be playing at home next Tuesday, against Siren, in a game that starts at 7 p.m.