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Somerset baseball isn't far from Middle Border's top teams

Prescott and Ellsworth are undefeated at the top of the Middle Border Conference baseball standings.

Somerset’s only MBC losses are to the co-leaders and the Spartans were clearly competitive in those losses. The second of those losses came last Friday, when Prescott scored three times in the bottom of the sixth to break a 6-6 tie.

The 9-6 final was the biggest challenge that the 9-0 Prescott team has received so far this season. It took a hearty comeback from the Spartans to give them a chance to win the game.

Somerset scored twice in the first inning. A two-out double from Logan Peterson started the charge. Andy Peters singled home Peterson. Tyler Lueck followed with a double that chased home Peters.

Lueck started on the mound for the Spartans but didn’t have his usual control of his pitches. Prescott got two runs off Lueck in the first inning and four more in the second inning. Peters was brought in to pitch in the fourth inning.

The Spartans began chipping away at the Prescott lead in the fourth inning. Peters led off the fourth inning with a single, stole two bases and scored on Tommy Grygienc’s single.

In the fifth inning, Reed Baillargeon and Jon Sullivan walked, with both of them scoring on Peters’ double. That cut the margin to 6-5.

Zac Waalen led off the Spartan’ sixth inning with a double and Grygienc put down a sacrifice bunt that moved Waalen to third. Baillargeon then delivered a single that brought Waalen home with the tying run.

Prescott then showed the poise that has the Cardinals again placed highly in the state baseball rankings. Prescott got singles from Alex Helmer and Michael Brookshaw to start the sixth inning and they both scored on Matt Holman’s double.

The Spartans weren’t able to get a baserunner in the seventh inning.

Spartan coach John Ball said the message from this game isn’t in the final score, but in the comeback that the Spartans made against one of the best teams in the area.

“We could have gotten really down at 6-2 and we didn’t. We took advantage of the opportunities they gave us,” Ball said.

Peters led the Spartan offense at Prescott, going 3-4 at the plate with three runs driven in. Aaron Moore had two hits.

The third win of the Spartans’ MBC season came last Tuesday against Baldwin-Woodville. The Spartans started slowly, trailing the winless Blackhawks 1-0 after three innings. The Spartans picked it up from there, scoring eight times in the next three innings to earn an 8-3 win.

Ball said the Spartans might have got caught assuming that the Blackhawks would be an easy mark. After “a few choice words” from the coaches, the Spartans raised their level of play in the fourth inning. Grygienc led off the fourth with a walk, scoring on a double from Peters to begin a four-run burst. Waalen doubled to bring home two runs and Waalen scored on a Ben Hammer single.

Moore raised the Spartans’ intensity level by leading off the fifth inning with his first varsity homer. The Spartans scored two more runs in the inning, with Lueck and Sullivan credited with RBI.

Hammer led the Spartan offense with three hits in the game. Waalen got the pitching win, allowing five hits and three runs in six innings of work.

The Spartans have the chance to stay in the thick of the MBC race, with two of the conference’s bottom teams on the schedule. The Spartans will play at Durand on Friday, before hosting Amery next Tuesday. Durand started the week with a 1-4 MBC record and Amery is currently 0-4.

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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