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Stephens and Stephens will lead Millers baseball in 2008

There will be a father-and-son team leading the New Richmond Millers this season.

Former Millers manager Mike Stephens is coming out of retirement to join his son, current Millers manager Ryan Stephens, as the management team for the Millers in the 2008 adult baseball league season.

Ryan took over as manager of the team in 2002 when his dad retired. Mike had managed the Millers from 1998-2001.

They will split the management duties. Ryan's duties will be similar to a general manager's role, organizing the schedule, hiring umpires, arranging concessions and procuring players. Mike will take over as the field manager.

"Ryan came to me and said he'd like to get back in the lineup and he needed an on-field coach," Mike said. "Baseball has always been my first love."

Mike Stephens has coached many New Richmond baseball players. He coached many years of youth baseball before moving up to the Millers. He's known as a stickler for fundamentals. He also excelled at in-game planning.

"I can stay two to three innings ahead for on-field strategy," the elder Stephens said. "Ryan learned his methodology from me, but we do have some different philosophies."

Mike said this will likely be a one-year term as manager, but left the door open to the possibility of remaining as manager. He said his three goals for the season were to improve the team's record, win the Northern Division of the St. Croix Valley League, and get into the state playoffs.

"I expect the players to work hard and I expect them to play to win," Mike said.

The Millers have 26 games on this season's schedule. Pitching depth will be one of the team's strengths, with Tim Brown, T.J. Wink, Mitch Paquin and Logan Peterson returning. The team has a solid corps of outfielders returning, including Dan Kretovics, Scott Emerson, Jon Will and Curt Kleinschmidt.

Where the team has question marks is around the infield. The team is looking for players to try out, because none of the infield starting positions are set.

The Millers open their season at East Bethel on April 27. The first home game will be on May 10 against UW-Barron County. Scott Emerson plays college ball for UW-BC. The Millers' first St. Croix Valley league game arrives on May 16, against Ellsworth.

Dave Newman
Dave Newman has been the sports editor at the New Richmond News since 1988. He has covered the action in the Middle Border Conference, Dunn-St. Croix Conference and Big Rivers Conference for nearly 30 years.
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