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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When it’s two games into a season, you aren’t usually looking at mustwin games, but last Thursday’s game was in that category for the Somerset Spartans. Somerset had an 0-2 start to the Middle Border Conference season and another loss could have put the Spartans’ hopes of a title run in jeopardy. Behind sharp pitching from sophomore AJ Beasley and an efficient all-around effort, the Spartans made sure that didn’t happen. The Spartans moved to 1-2 in the MBC with a 4-3 win over Osceola.
There are five teams that have aspirations of winning the Middle Border Conference boys golf title, at least based off the results in the first MBC match of the season last Tuesday at Bristol Ridge Golf Club in Somerset. What will end up separating those five teams isn’t the golfers at the top of their lineups. It’s the golfers who fill the three through five spots in their rosters.
Here is the schedule for the upcoming week of high school sports. Several Thursday events have already been postponed or moved.
It seemed that New Richmond’s softball game against Amery last Thursday was completed in an hour. “She understands throwing every pitch with a purpose,” Stippel said. The win came two days after the Tigers dropped a 9-4 decision at Eau Claire Memorial. Stippel had no problems with this performance, saying there were several times in the game that the Tigers were one hit away from taking down the Old Abes.
Getting the chance to start their outdoor season with a pair of meets last week gave the New Richmond track teams plenty of reason to be optimistic about their prospects this season. The Tigers opened their outdoor season with a meet at Osceola last Tuesday. Two days later, the Tigers took part of the first meet held at the new Menomonie High School track facility.
Pitching has kept the St. Croix Central baseball team relevant in the early stages of the Middle Border Conference season. But if the offense doesn’t pick up soon, it could place added pressure on the Panther pitchers. Central stands at 2-1 in the MBC after splitting decisions against Osceola and Ellsworth last week. Central delivered Osceola’s first MBC loss, beating the Chieftains 2-1 last Tuesday. Central wasn’t able to duplicate that success Thursday, dropping a home 6-1 decision to Ellsworth.
The two opponents the Somerset girls soccer team faced last week are projected to be at the top and bottom of the Middle Border Conference. They served as a barometer to show that the Spartans should be competitive with all the teams in the MBC this season. Last Tuesday, the Spartans hosted New Richmond, the team many coaches project as the favorite in the MBC this year. The Tigers scored twice in the first half, but the Spartans found they were able to compete quite evenly with the Tigers in the 2-0 loss.
The Somerset softball team went 5-2 in the seven nonconference games that started the season. The challenge for the Spartans is to parlay that sort of success into the Middle Border Conference season. There was only an occasional glimmer of the Spartan team that looked so good in the preseason when the Spartans opened their MBC season last Thursday at Baldwin- Woodville. The Spartans offered little fight against the Blackhawks, losing 14-1.
Over the past two weeks the Somerset track team has competed in four meets. The intensity continues this weekend, with the Spartans competing in a meet at River Falls on Friday and another at Glenwood City on Monday. That heavy schedule was done for a reason, according to Spartan head coach Terry Otradovec. He said the young Spartans need to see what better teams and individuals are out there, so they know that there is more ability they can draw out of themselves.
While more than 20 of the team members were off on spring break, the rest of the St. Croix Central track team put up a rock solid effort in a meet at Osceola last Tuesday. The Panther girls placed third in the six-team meet, one point behind second place Osceola. Central’s boys were fifth, but managed to score more than 100 points. St. Croix Central coach Ben Lamb estimated that the girls would have scored roughly 20 points more with a full lineup and the boys would have had an even bigger contribution from those missing.