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Millers get pitching, but hitting lags behind

New Richmond shortstop Corey Berger tries to complete a double play during Sunday's loss to Elmwood.

The opening weekend of the season produced excellent pitching for the New Richmond Millers.

Unfortunately, the hitting and defense weren't up to the level of the pitching and the Millers lost their opening two games of the season.

The Millers will try to bring all three elements together this Saturday when they host Ellsworth at 7:30 p.m. in a St. Croix Valley League game.

On Sunday the Millers faced the Elmwood Expos in their opening SCVL game of the season. There wasn't an earned run scored in the game, but three Millers' errors in the fifth inning gave Elmwood the only two runs of the game.

Elmwood hasn't been overly successful in the SCVL, but the Expos have had the Millers' number. In the past four years, the Millers have only beaten Elmwood once.

The encouraging part out of Sunday's game was the pitching of Tim Brown. The Millers' veteran hurler threw a complete game four-hitter, striking out 14. He only walked two batters.

"To have a pitcher strike out 14 and still lose bothers me," said Millers manager Ryan Stephens.

Brown's pitching was matched by Elmwood's Dylan DeMotts. The former Baldwin-Woodville standout held the Millers to three hits. The Millers twice got runners as far as second base in the game.

On Saturday night the Millers christened the 2010 season with a home game against the Minneapolis Cobras. The Millers struck out 14 times in a 7-3 loss.

Between the two games the Millers struck out 21 times in 62 official at-bats. Stephens said he was going to put the team through a heavy dose of batting practice during their weekly practice in hopes of improving the hitting performance.

Logan Peterson got the start on the mound against the Cobras, with Cody Torkelson and Logan Wink working in relief.

The Millers scored their first run of the season in the third inning on Saturday on a walk and singles from Jon Will and Matt Peterson.

In the eighth inning the Millers cut the margin to 5-3 by scoring a pair of runs. Will led off with a single and Scott Emerson walked. They both scored on a single down the third base line by Aaron Frei.

The Millers finished the game with five hits.

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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