New Richmond Millers get two-hit gem in 2014 season opener
Pitcher Hayden Zimmerman was at mid-season form as the New Richmond Millers won their St. Croix Valley League adult baseball opener on Sunday.
Zimmerman fired a two-hitter to carry the Millers to a 2-0 win over Plum City at Citizens Field.
The Millers play another SCVL game this Sunday when they host Bay City.
Two early runs put the Millers in front on Sunday and that would be all the help Zimmerman needed. Zimmerman struck out 13 Plum City batters. The only Blues player to collect hits was Zach Watkins, who doubled and singled against Zimmerman.
The first New Richmond run came in the second inning. Zimmerman reached on an error. He would score on a single from Mitch Paquin.
The Millers scored again in the third inning. Riley Kannel led off with a walk and Paquin came through again with another RBI single. Paquin has been moved to the fifth spot in the lineup to start the season.
“Mitch did his job. That’s an RBI spot,” said Millers manager Ryan Stephens.
Kannel is a late addition to the team and is a much-needed additional bat in the lineup. Kannel got talked into joining the team by Kyle Miller, who started in rightfield for the Millers on Sunday.
Zimmerman pitched into the ninth before needing relief help from Josh Leavens to get the final two outs of the game. Leavens needed just one pitch to get those outs. The first pitch thrown by Leavens was hit to third base, where Zimmerman had moved. Zimmerman started the 5-4-3 double play to finish the game and get Leavens the one-pitch save.
The Millers played a practice game last Friday at the Eau Claire Bears, losing 6-3. With limited time to practice outdoors this spring, the spring training game gave the Millers some much needed looks at live pitching. The Millers went without a hit in the first five innings, but their batting eyes improved the second and third times through the lineup.
Kannel was the offensive bright spot on Friday, collecting a double and single in his first game with the team. Coleman Roskam did some good work as the Millers’ starting pitcher, with Leavens getting some work in relief.