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New Richmond baseball team sees its week go downhill

New Richmond second baseman Cole Peterson takes the throw on a successful stolen base attempt by Prescott in last Friday’s 6-1 Tiger loss.

When you watch the New Richmond varsity baseball team, you can see the potential the team possesses.

But the Tigers have struggled to consistently turn that potential into positive results. That happened again last week. The Tigers started the week with a 6-4 win over Amery where the team showed all the elements of being successful.

Things went south on the Tigers in a hurry after that. The Tigers went to Durand last Thursday, facing a Panther team that had one Middle Border Conference win to its credit at the time. The Tigers got outplayed and Durand was able to post a 5-2 victory.

On Friday, the Tigers completed the home game against Prescott that had been postponed the previous Monday with the Cards leading 2-0. The Tigers had opportunities, but couldn’t do anything with them in a 6-1 loss.

The heavy slate of games begin to take its toll when the Tigers hosted Chippewa Falls for two games on Saturday. The pitchers appeared arm weary as the Tigers lost the games 12-6 and 12-1.

Tiger coach Chad Fehrman said he’s been pleased that the players have maintained a positive attitude despite the team’s record dropping to 6-13. He said the young team has simply had not had enough time to practice because of its busy game schedule. They had one practice last week, on Wednesday.

The week started on a promising note with the win over Amery. Sophomore Drake Durham gave the Tigers a much-needed complete game effort. The left-hander still has a bit of a wild streak, shown in his six walks. But when he gets the ball over the plate, good things happen. He limited the Warriors to two hits and he struck out nine batters.

Durham was also one of the leading offensive producers, with two hits and two runs batted in. Cole Peterson and Jeremy Leavens also had two hits.

Getting productive at-bats when they have runners on base has been a season-long issue for the Tigers and it burned them at Durand. The Tigers outhit the Panthers 10-7 in the game. The Tigers had runners in scoring position in every inning.

Defense didn’t help the Tigers either. They had five errors in the game, four of them coming from pitchers.

Leavens again led the offense with three hits. Brady Gaspord produced two hits and started the Tigers’ two-run rally in the fourth inning that briefly tied the game.

Friday’s game against Prescott was another where the Tigers showed they can compete with some of the best teams in the state. Ellsworth and Prescott are both ranked among the top five Division 2 teams in the state and the Tigers have played them tough in all four games this season.

“It’s frustrating because we’re right on the cusp,” Fehrman said. “We’re not a bad baseball team.”

The difference again was making the most of their chances. Prescott scored four runs in the sixth inning. The Tigers answered by loading the bases in the bottom of the sixth, but couldn’t get any runs out of the threat. The same thing happened to the Tigers in the third inning.

Noah Berger pitched the first six innings for the Tigers, allowing three earned runs. Durham pitched a spotless seventh inning.

Caleb Manecke and Hayden Nelson each had two hits in the game, with the Tigers totaling seven base knocks.

For Saturday’s double-header, the coaches tried to piece together the pitching the best they could. Nelson, Durham and Berger took turns on the mound in the first game. The Tigers fell behind 7-1, but they showed some fight in the late innings to produce five runs. Leavens led the offense with three hits and three RBI, including a two-run homer in the seventh inning. Manecke, Peterson and Keilan Mehls each had two hits.

In the second game, two sophomores who haven’t got much chance to pitch this season took turns on the mound. Cam Hausman got the start, working into the fifth inning. Manecke took over from there.

Manecke produced the only offensive highlight of the game, leading off the sixth inning with a solo homer. He had two of the Tigers’ four hits in the loss.

The Tigers are quickly moving toward the end of the season. They play at Osceola this Thursday, before getting an eight-day break between games. The Tigers were scheduled to play Eau Claire Memorial next Tuesday, but that game has been canceled. That move was made because New Richmond and Memorial will be meeting in the opening round of the WIAA Division 1 playoffs on Tuesday, June 3. The Tigers drew the 10th seed in the regional bracket and will play at Memorial, which is the seventh seed.

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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