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NR Senior Legion starts playoffs Thursday

Eric Moberg delivers a pitch for the New Richmond Junior American Legion team during a recent improvised game against the New Richmond U14 team. Dave Newman / RiverTown Multimedia

The Senior level playoffs start this week, while the Junior level American Legion baseball teams are wrapping up their seasons. Here is a report on the Legion games for the local teams from last week.

New Richmond Seniors

The Senior Post 80 team looks with every outing more like a veteran group. They split their games last week, winning on Monday against Menomonie 3-0, before losing Tuesday at Altoona, 8-4.

Perhaps the biggest area of progress last week came on defense. New Richmond didn't commit an error against Menomonie and the boys only had one error at Altoona.

The big news out of the Menomonie win was the pitching of Jake Jirik. He threw the nine-inning shutout, allowing three hits and one walk. He needed just 92 pitches, facing three batters over the minimum.

"Best pitching performance I've seen this year during varsity or Legion season," said New Richmond Senior Legion coach Rick Jirik.

The big hit of the game came from Talon Seckora. With two outs in the second inning, he lined a two-run single that scored Drew Momchilovich and and Reece Lucas. Jirik followed with a single to score Brandon Gaspord.

Four pitchers got mound time in the loss at Altoona, with Ryan Kling making the start.

"Our pitchers did a very nice job of getting in ground balls when we needed them," Coach Jirik said.

Jake Earley led New Richmond with three hits at Altoona and Secora had two hits. New Richmond scored two runs in the seventh to cut the margin to 6-4, but Altoona scored twice in the eighth on two singles and two passed balls to reestablish its lead.

The New Richmond Seniors will play in the state Legion playoffs, beginning this Thursday at River Falls. The first game for New Richmond will be against the host River Falls team at 2:30 p.m. at First National Bank of River Falls Field.

New Richmond Juniors

The Juniors will get one more chance to play together this season. A game has been added for this Thursday, with the NR Junior team hosting Prescott at Citizens Field.

The NR Juniors lost a pair of games last week, Tuesday against Somerset and Wednesday at Hudson. In both games, defensive problems were the main issue that worked against New Richmond. They lost to Somerset 10-3 and 8-4 against Hudson.

Coach Chris Riba said there were high points to each game, particularly from the pitching. Jens Christiansen started Tuesday, with Cooper Eckardt and Joey Kidder handling Wednesday's game. Riba said all three pitched their best ball of the season. The run totals against them came in the aftermath of defensive mistakes.

Jacob Gondreau led New Richmond with two hits in the game. Kidder delivered an RBI double to score New Richmond's first run.

The last time the New Richmond Junior team faced Hudson, it lost 12-0 on a one-hitter. This was a competitive game right to the end. Hudson scored three runs in the seventh and two more in the eighth on rallies built around New Richmond errors. Until then, the game was deadlocked.

Evan Iverson led New Richmond with two hits.

"Offensively, we played well," Riba said. "We put the ball in play."

Somerset Legion

The Somerset Junior Legion finished its season with an impressive 10-3 win at New Richmond last Tuesday, July 11. AJ Beasley got the pitching win for Somerset, with his speed and ball movement proving too much for many of the New Richmond hitters.

Beasley also led the Somerset offensive attack. He went 3-4 at the dish with a homer and two runs batted in. Brady Wall also had a nice game, driving home three runs on a single and a double.

St. Croix Central

For a team that didn't hit particularly well in the spring season, the St. Croix Central Junior Legion team has found its hitting stride this summer. That was clear last Tuesday when Central won at home against Clear Lake, 11-7. Central's boys rang up 16 hits in the game, led by Wyatt Sundby and Zach Holme with three hits each. Holme and Colin Burns both drove home three runs in the win.

Most of the scoring came late in the game. Clear Lake scored five times in the seventh inning to take a 7-4 lead. Central regained the lead in the eighth inning, chasing home seven runs.

Holme led off the seventh with a double. He batted again later in the inning, this time mashing a triple.

"Clear Lake won 25 games in the spring," said Central coach Tom Sauve. "We beat them with their studs on the field."

Central also earned a win on Friday, travelling to Shell Lake to score an 11-3 win. Holme started on the mound, working four strong innings, with Evan Hill handling the final three innings. The Central team was quite aggressive on the bases, forcing Shell Lake into nine errors.

Central has added one more date to its schedule. Central will host Bloomer this Wednesday at 5 p.m. to play a double-header.

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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