Young additions help New Richmond American Legion team get win
With half the team in South Dakota for football camp, the New Richmond American Legion Post 80 baseball team had to bring in some younger recruits for its game against Bloomer last Thursday.
The younger version of the New Richmond squad continued the team’s strong play this summer, posting a 12-2 win in six innings.
The Tiger football team left Thursday morning for a three-day camp at South Dakota State University. That included approximately half of the players on the Junior League baseball team. The plan originally was to postpone this game. At the spring baseball banquet the previous Sunday, it was learned that the U14 baseball team didn’t have a game that night. The Legion coaches asked U14 players if they’d be interested in moving up a level for one game. There were enough of the U14 players available, so the game was kept on the schedule.
Several of last spring’s freshmen had key roles in Thursday’s game. That included Dante LaDuke pitching, Eric Hedlund at shortstop and Grant Riemenschneider in centerfield.
LaDuke just learned a curveball and it helped his effectiveness. He pitched the complete game, allowing three hits, with four strikeouts. He was efficient, working the six innings in 73 pitches.
“For a freshman, he looked really good,” said Legion coach Paul Kittel. “He’s got a nice, smooth motion.”
Bloomer scored single runs in the first and third innings. New Richmond scored three runs in the first inning. Post 80 broke the game open with rallies in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings.
The first inning started with Cole Peterson being hit by a pitch. He stole second base and scored when Grant Momchilovich reached on error. That was followed by a single from Riemenschneider. Both Grants scored when Hunter Charland reached on an error.
Bloomer cut the lead to 3-2 before New Richmond started to exert its offensive strength in the fourth inning. Andrew Hilby and Nick Berrera started the fourth with singles. Hilby scored when Peterson reached on an error. Hedlund then lined a single to leftfield, bringing home two runs. Momchilovich completed the rally with an RBI single.
The offense continued its charge in the fifth inning. Charland started the inning with a walk and he scored on Hilby’s double to leftfield. Chad Miller followed with a single to rightfield to chase home Miller.
Riemenschneider started the sixth inning with a single and the offense was rolling again. Bailey Germain followed with a single and the bases were loaded when Hilby was hit by a pitch. Miller was up next and he was hit by a pitch, forcing in a run. Jordan Fischer then hit into a fielder’s choice, but Germain was able to score on the play, giving New Richmond the win on the 10-run rule.
The win came a night after the Legion team lost to a U19 Senior Legion team from River Falls. Post 80 lost the game at the new River Falls baseball complex, 11-4.
River Falls scored four runs in the first inning. Noah Berger started on the mound and he hit the River Falls leadoff batter with the first pitch he threw. New Richmond then had some defensive issues, helping River Falls roll up four runs.
Post 80 bounced back from that rough inning to score three runs in the second frame. Cam Hausman and Charland singled to set the table. Hedlund then singled to bring home Hausman. Peterson followed with a two-run double.
River Falls added a run in the bottom of the second and the score stayed 5-3 until River Falls broke the game open with five runs in the fifth inning.
New Richmond got one run out of a bases-loaded opportunity in the sixth inning. Caleb Manecke and Momchilovich walked, with Hilby’s infield single packing the bases. Charland delivered a sacrifice fly to get one run home.
Kittel said the age difference was noticeable in this game, He said the River Falls players looked more physically mature and they were all potent hitters.
Post 80 gets a week off between games as the players get the Fourth of July weekend off. The next games for New Richmond will be played next Tuesday, when Post 80 hosts Unity at Citizens Field. The games begin at 5:30 p.m.