New Richmond baseball starting fresh in 2012When the New Richmond baseball team graduated its entire starting lineup at the end of last season, it was taken for granted that there’d be some growing pains for the 2012 Tigers.
By: Dave Newman, New Richmond News
When the New Richmond baseball team graduated its entire starting lineup at the end of last season, it was taken for granted that there’d be some growing pains for the 2012 Tigers.
There’s only a smattering of varsity experience among this season’s team and it showed as the Tigers were limited to three hits and one run in their first two games.
In the Tigers’ season opener last Thursday, they were limited to one hit in a 4-1 loss to Baldwin-Woodville. The Tigers weren’t any more successful at Hudson on Monday, losing 10-0 on two hits to the Raiders.
In the opener the Tigers faced Baldwin-Woodville’s Tyler Heitmann, who threw a one-hitter against top-ranked Altoona in the Blackhawks’ season opener. Heitmann was just as sharp against the Tigers and the Tigers’ inexperience against top-end pitchers showed. The Tigers struck out for 16 of the 21 outs in the game.
Tiger coach Chad Fehrman said his players were clearly overanxious at the plate.
“We struck out on ball three or ball four 12 times,” Fehrman said. “They were anxious to play. As soon as Heitmann started rolling, they began to press a little.”
Junior Kaleb Kier had the Tigers’ only hit and he scored the Tigers’ only run in the fourth inning. The Tigers did have other opportunities. They had runners on second and third twice, but couldn’t get the needed hit against Heitmann to produce a rally.
The Tigers were in contention in this game right to the end Thursday. The score was 2-1 until B-W scored twice in the seventh inning. Ryan Keehr and Justin Johnson split the pitching duties against B-W and both showed they can be productive varsity pitchers. They combined to throw a four-hitter.
In Monday’s loss against Hudson, senior Nate Jones got the pitching start for the Tigers. He gave up two runs in the first, then pitched perfect ball in the second and third innings. He began to tire in the fourth inning. Keehr came on in relief, but couldn’t find the strike zone. Zac Parfitt came on and finally got out of the jam. Hudson scored six runs in the fourth on one hit, four walks and one hit batter.
The Tigers managed just two hits against Hudson, with Jones and Andy Kittel getting the base knocks. Fehrman said there was definite progress, with the Tigers cutting their strikeouts down to six in this game.
Fehrman said defense was one of the bright spots to the opening games. The Tigers committed two errors in each game. The errors were costly against Hudson, but the defense kept the Tigers in the game against Baldwin-Woodville.
“The defensive effort (against B-W) was one of the best I’ve seen since I’ve been coaching,” Fehrman said.
The Tigers have a busy schedule as they try to get up to speed at the varsity level. They play at Menomonie in a non-conference game Thursday. They face one of the Middle Border Conference favorites on Friday when they host Prescott. The Tigers will play at Somerset next Tuesday.