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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The St. Croix Central softball team didn’t go down without a fight in its WIAA Division 2 playoff opener at New Richmond last Thursday. The Panthers didn’t look like a team that carried a 1-18 record into the game when they trailed 2-1 heading into the home half of the fourth inning. New Richmond was able to score nine times in the next two innings to defeat the Panthers 12-2, ending Central’s softball season. To make matters worse for the Panthers Thursday, they had to play the game without their only senior.
When the WIAA baseball playoffs begin next Tuesday, St. Croix Central is a number six seed that teams aren’t going to want to face. The Panthers continued the improvement they’ve shown all through the second half of the season by decisively winning two Dunn-St. Croix Conference games. The Panthers knocked around Boyceville 9-5 on Tuesday and they followed that with a 10-0 win over Plum City on Thursday. The wins get the Panthers to one of their season goals, reaching the .500 level in conference action.
Superior and New Richmond are the two top teams in the Middle Border Conference girls soccer race because of their team speed and ability to score goals in a hurry. Somerset faced both of the MBC leaders last week. In stretches of both games the Spartans played well, but they couldn’t match their opponents’ firepower. The Spartans lost to New Richmond 3-0 on Thursday and at Superior on Friday, 5-0. Superior is led by the state’s leading scorer, Malley O’Brien. But she wasn’t the star of the game.
New Richmond’s girls soccer team has moved into the Middle Border Conference lead and it took one of the most stunning comebacks in team history to get the Tigers there. The Tigers rallied from a 3-0 deficit to defeat Baldwin-Woodville 4-3 in overtime. New Richmond senior Tina Montpetit scored the winning goal with a few seconds remaining in the first overtime period. The Tigers trailed B-W 3-0 last Thursday, 44 minutes into the showdown for the MBC lead. To that point, the Tigers had been giving extra defensive attention to Baldwin-Woodville’s leading scorer.
Three Big Rivers Conference teams have fallen victim to the New Richmond softball team this season after the Tigers struck early and maintained their leads against a pair of BRC teams over the weekend. The Tigers went to Hudson on Friday and scored six runs in the top of the first inning. The Tigers didn’t score again, but fiery pitching from Sydney Kannel and incredible defense made those early runs stand up, with the Tigers winning 6-2. Menomonie was the second BRC victim of the weekend. The Tigers hosted the Mustangs on Saturday.
Basketball coaching is something of a tradition in the Schradle family. Ryan Schradle was approved as the varsity girls basketball coach at Monday’s New Richmond Board of Education meeting. Schradle succeeds Jeff Kanewischer, who served as the Tiger varsity coach the past eight years. Schradle has been one of Kanewischer’s assistant coaches the past four years. Schradle is a 1997 graduate of Turtle Lake High School. He’s been involved in basketball coaching for 15 years before finally getting his first chance to be a varsity coach. “It’s a long time coming,” Schradle said.
New Richmond’s one doubles team of Vitaliy Gutsal and Connor Earley provided the deciding three-set victory as the Tiger boys tennis team won a tight 4-3 battle against Menomonie last Thursday on the NRHS courts. The match was tied 3-3, with the one doubles match the only one going to a third set. New Richmond won the opening set 6-4, but Menomonie came back for a 6-3 win in the second set. The third set was tied at 3-3, before the Tigers made a late charge to win 6-4. Tiger coach Mike Montello said it was the first set that was the key to this victory.
There was a nostalgic sense surrounding Somerset’s 6-2 win over Baldwin-Woodville last Tuesday. Because the baseball field at Larry Forrest Park in Somerset was rain soaked and deemed unplayable, the game was moved to Citizens Field in New Richmond. This was the home field for Somerset coach John Ball throughout the 31 years that he coached the New Richmond varsity baseball team, winning more than 500 games in that tenure. The Spartans gave their coach something to feel nostalgic about too.
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.
A season’s worth of pent up offense spilled out when the St. Croix Central softball team took on Spring Valley on Friday. The Panthers bashed out a season’s worth of offense on Friday: 34 hits and 26 runs. They needed every one too. The game was tied after seven innings.