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Legion state tourney a fun new challenge for New Richmond team

Playing in the American Legion baseball AA playoffs was a big challenge for New Richmond's first year Legion team.

But it was a challenge they enjoyed.

New Richmond faced two of the top six AA ranked teams in the state during the tournament over the weekend in Medford. New Richmond lost both games, but the local team made a strong impression in their first Legion state event.

With the two losses in the state tournament, the New Richmond Legion finishes is 2008 season with a 19-8 record.

In the first round of the Legion tournament on Friday, New Richmond faced defending AA state champion Merrill. Merrill only lost two players from the team that won last year's title. Included on the team was a player who has already spent a year playing at UW-Whitewater and a 2008 graduate who will be playing next year at Louisiana Tech.

Merrill beat New Richmond 10-0, but the New Richmond boys definitely got the state champs' attention. Corey Berger pitched and didn't allow a hit until the fourth inning. After the fourth inning Merrill led 3-0.

New Richmond was able to get runners in scoring position in each of the first three innings of the game. They were then held without a baserunner in the final three innings.

In the second round of the tournament New Richmond faced Menomonie, which was ranked sixth in the state. This was the same Menomonie lineup that reached the WIAA Division 1 sectional finals this spring.

New Richmond played without two of its players, Berger and Nick Swystun, who had work obligations. That didn't stop the New Richmond boys from nearly pulling off the upset. Menomonie scored once in the seventh inning to hold off New Richmond, 10-9.

After Menomonie jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the first two innings, New Richmond answered with four runs in the third inning. Menomonie led 9-4 when New Richmond would take a 9-8 lead in the sixth inning. Menomonie would then score single runs in the sixth and seventh innings to pull out the win.

Jordan Maxon led New Richmond by going 3-3 at the plate against Menomonie. The five runs in the sixth inning all came home on two swings of the bat. Aaron Kohlrusch brought home the first two runs when he homered. Dan Leavens brought home the rest with a bases-loaded double.

Somerset games

Last Tuesday the New Richmond team finished its regular season by splitting a pair of games at Somerset.

New Richmond lost its second league game of the season in the opener, falling 5-2. They came back to win the second game 1-0, despite being held without a hit in the game.

New Richmond lost the opening game despite outhitting Somerset 7-5.

In the second game Berger threw the shutout, allowing one hit. New Richmond scored the only run of the game in the fourth inning. Maxon and Leavens led off with walks. They executed a double steal and Maxon scored on Jared Kidder's sacrifice fly to centerfield.

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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