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New Richmond American Legion baseball team splits opening games

Two promising pitching efforts marked the opening trip of the season for the New Richmond Post 80 American Legion baseball team.

Post 80 traveled to Grantsburg for a pair of games last Tuesday. A baffling umpire’s call proved to be the difference in the opening game as Grantsburg pulled out a 3-2 win. New Richmond’s Cam Hausman made sure there was no question who would win the second game, throwing a shutout as New Richmond won 1-0.

The first game hinged on a play in the bottom of the fifth inning. New Richmond led 2-1 with one out and a runner on third base. Rightfielder Hunter Charland caught a flyball in rightfield and fired the ball to catcher Caleb Manecke, who was three feet up the third baseline from home plate. Manecke tagged the runner as he went around him. The home plate umpire was out of position and said he didn’t see the play. He deferred to the base umpire, who said he was watching activity on the bases and didn’t see the play either. So the umpires decided to allow the run, tying the score. An out call on the play would have ended the game. Grantsburg scored the winning run an inning later.

Noah Berger pitched the opening game for New Richmond, allowing seven hits and two earned runs. He struck out seven batters.

New Richmond scored once in the first inning. Austin Juhl led off with a single to rightfield and stole second base. He scored on Cole Peterson’s single.

Peterson scored in the fifth inning to give New Richmond the 2-1 lead. He reached on a walk, moved to third on Hausman’s single and scored on an error.

The second game saw the pitchers dominate. New Richmond was held to two hits, but managed to prevail, thanks to Hausman’s tidy work on the mound. One of the goals for the Legion team this summer is to have the pitchers work on throwing a higher percentage of strikes. Hausman certainly accomplished that, getting strikes on 60 of his 88 pitches. He finished with a four-hitter, striking out nine.

“He had a lot of pop on his ball and he was locating his pitches well,” said Post 80 coach Paul Kittel.

The only run of the game was scored on an error. Berger was hit by a pitch with one out in the seventh inning and he moved up on a walk. Blake Kretovics then hit a roller to shortstop and Grantsburg tried to turn a double play. The second baseman’s throw to first was wild, allowing Berger to score the winning run.

New Richmond will play its first home games of the Legion season this Thursday. Post 80 hosts the Luck-Frederic team for a double-header that will start at 5:30 p.m. and will be played at Citizens Field. New Richmond will also be in action next Tuesday, playing a pair of games at Rice Lake.

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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