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New Richmond American Legion baseball team rolls past Somerset

New Richmond’s Hunter Charland was tagged out in this play at the plate during the 12-2 win by Post 80 over the Somerset Legion team last Thursday.1 / 2
New Richmond and Somerset were both well represented in the recent Heart Lake Border League American Legion All-Star Game. Somerset’s representatives (back left) are Tommy Grygienc (2) and Cody Cunningham (10). Representing New Richmond were (middle back, from left) Noah Berger, Caleb Manecke and Cole Peterson. 2 / 2

Despite some misadventures on the basepaths, the New Richmond American Legion Post 80 baseball team was able to roll past Somerset’s Post 111 team last Thursday, winning 12-2 in five innings.

New Richmond had a distinct edge in hitting and pitching in the game. Where the game got most interesting was when New Richmond got runners into scoring position. Post 80 had one runner thrown out at third base and four others thrown out while trying to score.

Paul Kittel, one of the New Richmond coaches, said miscommunication and missed signs were the reason behind most of the team’s bungled scoring opportunities. Even with those misadventures, New Richmond was able to roll up enough runs to win on the 10-run rule, scoring in every inning.

New Richmond scored once in the first inning. Cole Peterson led off with a bunt single, advanced on a throwing error and scoring on Austin Juhl’s single. New Richmond added one run in the second inning, but had two more runners thrown out at the plate. Parker Coleman scored the run. He singled to lead off the inning, scoring on Bailey Germain’s double.

In the third inning, New Richmond scored twice. Post 80 loaded the bases when Caleb Manecke was hit by a pitch and Cam Hausman and Hunter Charland walked. Manecke scored on Coleman’s single and Hausman came home on a wild pitch.

The floodgates opened further in the fourth inning as Somerset’s pitching struggled to find the strike zone, with New Richmond scoring five times. Peterson and Juhl led off with singles and they both scored on a double by Manecke, who was thrown out trying to stretch the hit into a triple. Noah Berger restarted the rally with a walk. He scored when a horrific collision grabbed everyone’s attention.

Charland hit a dribbler down the third base line. Somerset pitcher Mike Piletich fielded the ball, but his throw to first base tailed toward foul territory. Somerset first baseman Dalton Lyons reached into foul territory in an effort to catch the throw. He did so just as Charland was stretching for the first base bag. Charland’s face directly struck Lyons’ outstretched upper arm, with the force of the collision knocking both players off their feet. As both players lay crumpled on the ground, Berger was able to round the bases. It took a few minutes for both players to shake off the effects of the collision, but they both were able to continue playing.

Charland eventually scored when the next three New Richmond players walked. Coleman scored the fifth run of the inning on a wild pitch.

Somerset got its two runs in the bottom of the fourth inning. Tommy Grygienc led off the inning with a double. A single and an error brought home the two runs.

New Richmond nailed down the win with three runs in the fifth inning. Post 80 loaded the bases on a walk by Manecke, a single by Andrew Hilby and Berger being hit by a pitch. Jordan Fischer walked to force home the first run. Coleman’s third hit of the game brought home Hilby. Berger scored when Elliot Smallidge hit into a force play.

Berger pitched the complete game for New Richmond, allowing four hits while striking out five.

Unity for two

New Richmond hosted the Unity American Legion team last Tuesday, splitting the double-header. New Richmond rallied in the fifth inning to win the first game 4-3. Post 80 rallied again in the fifth inning of the second game, but the deficit was too great, resulting in an 8-7 loss.

Smallidge’s pitching was the story of the first game. Making his first start since pitching in a varsity double-header against Marshfield on May 31, Smallidge threw a one-hitter. All three of Unity’s runs were unearned. He only struck out one batter, forcing the Unity batters to put the ball in play and relying on his defense to take care of its job.

“He was our best JV pitcher this spring,” Kittel said. “He’s got a good changeup and a pretty good curveball.”

Injuries have slowed Smallidge’s progress thus far in his high school career. The Legion coaches were hoping players from this year’s JV team would show they’re ready to play on the varsity next spring and Kittel said this performance showed Smallidge should get consideration for varsity pitching time in 2015.

Unity led 2-0 until New Richmond scored twice in the third inning. Peterson and Juhl continued to be on-base machines at the top of the lineup. Peterson walked and scored on Juhl’s bunt single. Juhl scored on a single by Grant Momchilovich.

Unity took the lead on an unearned run in the fourth inning, but Post 80 rallied in the bottom of the fifth. Nick Barrera led off the inning with a walk. Peterson singled and Juhl’s sacrifice bunt moved them both into scoring position. On the bunt, Unity’s shortstop tried to throw behind Barrera at third base. The throw was wild and Barrera scored the tying run.

Peterson stole third base moments later. He was able to score the winning run when Hausman lined a single up the middle.

The second game was probably New Richmond’s weakest performance of the summer as the boys struggled in every area of the game. Unity scored three runs in the first inning and five in the third inning as New Richmond’s pitching and defense struggled.

Unity held an 8-1 lead going into the fifth. New Richmond got several big hits, including a two-run single from Hilby and an RBI double from Peterson, but the rally fell one run short.

New Richmond returns to action this Friday with a double-header at Rice Lake. New Richmond will also be on the road next Tuesday, playing at Amery.

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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