Fun Fest was no fun for Millers
The big crowd may have caused some nervousness among the New Richmond Millers in their annual Friday night clash with the Osceola Braves during the New Richmond Fun Fest celebration.
That's what Millers manager Ryan Stephens conjectured after the Millers fell behind early and never showed signs of recovering in an 11-1 loss to the Braves in last Friday's St. Croix Valley League game.
The Millers are heading into a busy stretch to close out their 2017 season. They will play at home on Wednesday, July 19 against Hudson to make up an earlier rainout. The Millers will also be at home on Friday, facing Menomonie. The Millers will play a double-header at Spring Valley on Saturday, with action starting at noon.
Defensive trouble got the Millers into early trouble on Friday and it was too much for starting pitcher Dante LaDuke to overcome. Osceola scored three runs in the first inning and four more in the third inning, with infield errors by the Millers starting both of those rallies.
Stephens pulled LaDuke with two outs in the third inning and Cam Hausman pitched capably the rest of the game.
The Millers put together their only scoring threat in the third inning. Curt Kleinschmidt started the charge with a single. The Millers strung together four hits in the inning, but a couple weak at-bats ended the threat with only one run scoring.
A big part of the rivalry between the Millers and Braves is that a third of the Osceola starting lineup is made up of New Richmond High School graduates. Blake Berger led Osceola with four hits, Noah Berger was Osceola's starting pitcher and Dave Measner was Osceola's starting shortstop.
"Noah doesn't throw a lot of strikes, but he's able to throw hard enough to make it look good," Stephens said. "Kudos to the Braves. They punished us."