A difficult season for the New Richmond Millers baseball team will come to an end this week. The Millers close the 2017 season with three home games.
The Millers will host the St. Paul Mudhens at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday in a nonleague game at Citizens Field. The Millers will close out their season with two St. Croix Valley Baseball League games. They will host Hager City at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Citizens Field and end the season with a 1 p.m. Sunday contest against the Prescott Pirates.
Last week was another rough one for the Millers, with the team dropping five games, including four that counted in the SCVBL standings. The Millers best performance came in their nonleague game June 18 against Blaine. Blaine is 26-3, yet the Millers hung tough against them, losing 4-0. Millers manager Ryan Stephens started on the mound, working the first five innings. New Richmond High School senior Noah Towberman joined the team for this game and was the starting catcher. Stephens was impressed with Towberman’s work behind the plate, saying he framed pitches well while showing a good sense of where to set up for pitches.
The Millers hosted division-leading Hudson on June 19. This was a 4-3 game until Hudson scored three runs in the ninth inning to win 7-3. New Richmond got all three of its runs in the eighth inning. Hits by Curt Kleinschmidt and Nate Olin were the key parts of the rally.
Coleman Roskam pitched the first seven innings against Hudson. Stephens said the progress shown by Roskam that night may have been the team’s highlight of the week.
Highlights were harder to find when the Millers lost at Menomonie on July 21, 8-1. Stephens pitched the first five innings with Cam Hausman working the rest of the way. The only New Richmond run was scored when Olin singled home Austin Juhl, who reached on an error.
The week ended with the Millers getting swept in a doubleheader at Spring Valley on July 23. The Millers led 7-3 in the opening game, but couldn’t finish it off in a 9-7 loss. They went quietly in the second game, 12-3.
Roskam gave another promising pitching effort in the opening game. He worked the first seven innings, leaving with a 7-4 lead. Dante LaDuke struggled in relief, taking the loss.
The offense showed some life in the early innings of this game. After Spring Valley took a lead on a two-run home run in the first inning, Caleb Manecke belted a two-run home run to tie the game. The score stayed 2-2 until the Millers broke out for one of the best rallies of the past few weeks, scoring five runs in the fifth inning. Caleb Belter’s double started the charge. Brock Luehman, Tommy Grygienc and Manecke kept the inning going with singles and Kleinschmidt capped the rally with a two-run single.
The Millers suffered a key loss in the second inning of the opener when Jon Will suffered a hyperextended knee while trying to leg out an infield hit.
In the second game, the Millers gave their younger pitchers an opportunity. Grant Riemenschneider made his first start for the team, working the opening three innings. LaDuke worked next, with Stephens handling the final 4.2 innings.