Millers continuing climb in SCVL
The climb to the 5-1 level hasn't always been easy for the New Richmond Millers, but the Millers have found ways to win nearly all of their St. Croix Valley League games.
That continued on Saturday, when the Millers needed 14 innings to overcome Plum City 2-1.
The pitching was as good as it would appear in the low-scoring battle. The Millers were facing Plum City ace Tony Garner, who won the league's top pitcher honors last year. Garner edged New Richmond's Hayden Zimmerman by one vote. Zimmerman would get the last laugh on Saturday, earning the win with 5.2 innings of shutout relief.
Garner started opposite New Richmond left-hander Sean Conrad. They both worked into the seventh inning, leaving with the score tied 1-1. Plum City scored its run in the fourth inning. Zach Watkins, who the Millers drafted to help them in the state playoffs in 2010, led off the inning with a double off Conrad and later scored.
The Millers tied the game in the seventh inning. Ryan Telschow singled and Hayden Nelson was inserted as a pinch runner. Dan Leavens singled Nelson to third base and Gabe Paulson singled to bring Nelson home.
Josh Leavens relieved Conrad in the seventh and Zimmerman took over for Leavens in the ninth inning. Plum City had many more baserunners than the Millers, but New Richmond's pitchers were able to work their way out of trouble.
The Millers finally scored the go-ahead run in the 14th inning. Jon Will singled and moved to second base on a passed ball. Mitch Paquin then singled up the middle, giving Will time to score from second base.
Zimmerman tore through the Plum City hitters in the bottom of the 14th to finish off the win. In his 5.2 innings of work, Zimmerman struck out 11 batters. Zimmerman pitched from the stretch the entire time he was in the game, to protect a hamstring that has bothered him recently.
Will, Telschow and Grant Nelson each produced two hits to lead New Richmond's offense on Saturday.
The Millers only scored in one inning when they hosted Exeland on Sunday, but that was enough. The Millers scored eight times in the fourth inning to win the non-league game 8-0.
The revelation from Sunday's game was the pitching of Coleman Roskam, who recently graduated from Baldwin-Woodville High School. Roskam allowed two hits in eight innings of work. Hayden Nelson came on to pitch a perfect ninth inning.
In the eight-run fourth, the Millers took advantage of some wild pitching. The Exeland hurler walked four batters in the inning. Hits from Grant Nelson, Paulson, Conrad, Paquin, Nick Scritchfield and Eric Schmitz filled in around the walks to generate the eight runs.
The Millers were also in action last Thursday, facing the New Richmond Post 80 senior American Legion team. The Millers built up a sizeable early lead, winning 12-7. To make the game more fair, the coaches decided to supply pitchers from their own teams. So Roskam started on the mound against his Miller teammates, with manager Ryan Stephens pitching in relief.
The big hit of the game was a three-run bomb to leftfield by Scritchfield which raised the Millers' lead to 8-1 in the second inning.
The Millers have a big week coming up on their schedule. The week starts with a Wednesday game at Ellsworth at 7:30 p.m. The Millers play all three days of the weekend. They play a non-league game on Friday against Blaine at 7:30 p.m. at Citizens Field. That's followed by two SCVL road games. The Millers play at Hager City at 5 p.m. on Saturday. Up next is a 1 p.m. game at St. Croix Falls on Sunday.