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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While the New Richmond Millers city league baseball team is still looking for more pitching, it found that Josh Leavens can sure step in when the team needs a second starting pitcher. Leavens pitched six strong innings on Sunday to earn the victory as the Millers topped the Bay City Blues 8-6. The win makes the Millers 2-0 in the St. Croix Valley League this season. Hayden Zimmerman is firmly entrenched as the Millers’ top starting pitcher this season, with his two-hit shutout in the season opener as full evidence of that.
The annual New Richmond quad tournament feels as much like a family picnic as a tennis tournament. With grills cooking brats and hotdogs for the players and their families and time available for the players from different teams to mingle, this is a less pressurized break from the hectic spring sports season. There still was plenty of tennis played and the New Richmond boys performed well.
There was plenty of disappointment as the New Richmond softball players watched through the high school doors as rain washed out their double-header against Somerset last Thursday. The Tigers have been enjoying an offensive resurgence and they desperately wanted to get Thursday’s games played. The Tigers had already taken the lead in the opening game when monsoon-force rain stopped the first game in the opening inning. The double-header will be made up next Monday. The rainout came two days after the Tigers went to Prescott and thumped the Cardinals 13-1.
Somerset’s girls soccer team continued its offensive upturn in its game at Osceola last Tuesday, but the Spartans faltered in the defensive side of the game. The Spartans were knocked off by the Chieftains 4-3 on Osceola’s artificial turf field. Somerset outshot Osceola in the game, but Osceola made the most of its chances. Osceola scored six minutes into the game, but the Spartans answered quickly. Senior Cassie Schmidt scored the team’s first goal in the eighth minute. The goal came on a crossing pass from the corner.
After waiting all season for clutch hits, the Spartans produced in clutch situations time after time in their 15-1 win at St. Croix Central last Friday. The game started with the Spartans scoring three runs in the first inning, all with two outs. It was a pattern they’d continue throughout the game. Singles by Rachel Cloutier and Meghan Wolner drove in runs during that burst. The Spartans broke the game open with an eight-run charge in the second inning, their largest run total of the season.
Facing Middle Border Conference cellar dweller Baldwin-Woodville was just what the New Richmond baseball team needed to recharge its offense. The Tigers pounded out 13 hits and scored in each of the first four innings to post a 14-3 win over the Blackhawks last Friday in Baldwin. The win raises the Tigers’ record to 4-4 in the MBC, leaving them tied with Somerset for fourth place at the start of this week’s action. It wasn’t just that the Tigers were hitting the ball on Friday, they were hitting it with authority. The Tigers bashed three homers in the game, along with two doubles.
With the Middle Border Conference season winding down, the New Richmond boys golf team needed to start gaining some ground on Osceola if the Tigers were going to keep their hopes of a conference championship alive. The Tigers did that on Friday when they hosted a match at the New Richmond Golf Club. The Tigers needed every stroke they could shave off their score, because they beat the Chieftains by one stroke for the team victory. Osceola now has 39 team points, with New Richmond in second place with 34.
The philosophy that the Somerset baseball team had been using successfully this spring got turned against the Spartans in a pair of Middle Border Conference games last week. And those two losses have extinguished Somerset’s hopes of winning an MBC title this season. The team’s philosophy has been based around throwing first-pitch strikes, playing flawless defense and getting a few clutch hits. That’s what Amery and Osceola did, and the Spartans didn’t do, in last week’s game. Amery beat the Spartans 5-1 last Tuesday. The game hinged on the third inning.
A bleak week for the St. Croix Central softball team ended with a glimmer of hope. The Panthers remain winless for the 2014 season. But in two games in a tournament at Clayton on Saturday, the Panthers appeared to be shaking off a recent offensive slump. In Saturday’s tournament, the Panthers were competitive in games with Northwood and Amery. All the games were scheduled to last for five innings. In the opening game against Northwood, which is located in Minong, the Panthers led heading into the fifth with a 5-1 lead.
The 0-5 start to the 2014 season is ancient history for the St. Croix Central baseball team. Since then, the Panthers are 4-3 and they’ve moved up to the middle of the pack in the Dunn-St. Croix Conference standings. The Panthers added a pair of wins during the last week. Central hosted Colfax in a double-header on Monday and both games were clean, well-played games. The Vikings won the opener 2-1, but the Panthers bounced back with a 2-0 win in the second game. Central ended last week with its biggest offensive game since 2011, smashing Boyceville 17-4 on Friday.