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New Richmond Senior American Legion baseball team falls short of state

Zac Parfitt is shown delivering a pitch for the New Richmond Senior Legion team in a recent game.

The New Richmond Post 80 Senior American Legion team put up two good battles in the state regional playoffs, but lost a pair of close games to Menomonie.

The two losses end New Richmond's season with a 6-11 record. Menomonie won the opening game of the two-team regional bracket last Wednesday 6-5. The next afternoon, Menomonie scored a 10-7 win over Post 80.

New Richmond coach Chad Fehrman said the Post 80 team played well in both games. This summer's season has been a concentrated effort in getting these boys ready for next spring's varsity season. Fehrman also coaches the Tiger varsity. He said these players now understand the approach of the Tiger coaches and this summer's experience should help the team be ready to play at peak level much quicker next spring.

"Having this experience will pay off for us in the future," Fehrman predicted.

New Richmond was one of the youngest senior Legion teams in the area, utilizing one 2012 graduate, while many of their opponents were filled with graduated seniors. The only graduate on the Post 80 roster was Justin Johnson, who pitched the opening game against Menomonie.

Post 80 held a 5-3 lead until Menomonie scored three times in the bottom of the seventh inning to win the opener. Menomonie used three hits, a walk and a catcher's interference call to generate the winning rally.

The lead swapped hands several times in the game. New Richmond scored first, with Drew Durham scoring in the opening inning. Menomonie notched single runs in the second, third and fourth innings. New Richmond got two runs in the fourth inning, with Blake Higgins and Kyle Shilts scoring after they led off the frame with singles. Post 80 then added single runs in the fifth and sixth innings.

New Richmond missed other chances to add to its lead, stranding the bases loaded twice during the game.

Thursday's game was an old-fashioned slugfest with both teams tattooing the ball. New Richmond needed four pitchers to get through the game and Menomonie needed three hurlers. Shilts was the most effective of the New Richmond mound men.

New Richmond scored twice in the first inning, but Menomonie took the lead with a four-run second inning. New Richmond kept fighting back, tying the game briefly at 5-5 in the fifth inning. Durham and Connor Hollern scored in the fifth inning for Post 80.

"Every time we scored, they answered," Fehrman said.

Fehrman said there were small mistakes that hurt Post 80 in this game, but categorized them as part of the learning experience this summer was intended to be.

"We made small mistakes, but it was mistakes that freshmen and sophomores make. I'm satisfied with how they played," he said.