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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Some of the worst imaginable conditions for tennis didn't stop the New Richmond boys team from sweeping a pair of Middle Border Conference matches last week. The worst of the conditions came last Tuesday, when the Tigers beat Ellsworth on their home court, 7-0. The Tigers went to Amery last Thursday and won by another 7-0 count. Tiger coach Mike Montello muttered under his breath that he'd never had a team play in snow before, but there were occasional flurries being carried by the vicious howling wind last Tuesday.
Ellsworth has used potent hitting to become one of the leaders in the Middle Border Conference softball race and the New Richmond girls got to see that first-hand last Thursday. Ellsworth increased its MBC record to 4-1, while the Tigers fell to 1-4 in last Thursday's game, which Ellsworth won 11-2. The game started out favorably for the Tigers, getting one run in the first inning. Chelsea Anderson led off the game with a single. She put herself into scoring position by stealing second base, then third base.
The first unlimited entry meet of the outdoor season for the Somerset track teams was a perfect opportunity to get the Somerset track athletes plenty of work. The Spartans hosted a four-team meet last Thursday and the Spartans were busy getting their work in at all the different events. The Spartans placed second in both halves of the meet, with Osceola earning wins in both. Somerset's girls were able to score wins in seven events. The wins show the solid distribution of the talent on the Spartan roster.
The anxiety of three straight conference losses was starting to eat at the psyches of the Somerset softball team. All that anxiety seemed to disappear after the Spartans scored five runs in the first inning against Amery last Thursday. The Spartans played with renewed vigor, scoring in every inning in a 14-4 win over the Warriors. The win leaves the Spartans with a 2-3 record in the Middle Border Conference.
When the Dunn-St. Croix Conference track meet is held on May 17, the St. Croix Central teams should have their opponents thoroughly scouted. The Panthers again ran against most of their conference opponents in a meet last Thursday at Colfax. The Panthers will see more of their D-SC opposition this Thursday in a meet at Boyceville.
Fans don't see three homers knocked out of the park in a high school girls softball game very often. That's what happened last Thursday when the St. Croix Central girls played at Pepin. The third homer was a killer for the Panthers. The final homer was a three-run blast in the bottom of the seventh inning that gave Pepin the 7-4 victory. Central senior Nikki Brooks tied the game in the top of the seventh with a three-run bomb. Panther coach Jimmy Anderson said he knew going into the game that Pepin had several girls with the ability to knock the ball over the fence.
The St. Croix Central baseball team wasn't expected to be at the center of the Dunn-St. Croix Conference race. Now that the Panthers are among the contenders, they are doing everything within their powers to stay there. The Panthers increased their D-SC win total to four last Thursday, crushing Pepin 13-2. With their 4-1 record the Panthers are tied for second place in the conference, one game behind Elk Mound. The formula of sharp defense and smart pitching continues to carry the Panthers.
Breanna Simon and Megan Cox, both of New Richmond, were part of the U19 girls hockey team that won the national championship in the highest level of amateur hockey. Simon and Cox are members of the Shattuck St. Mary's team that won the U19 USA Hockey Tier 1 national championships on April 10. Shattuck defeated Little Ceasar's of Detroit 4-2 in the national title game.
Sam Lofquist's family holds Minnesota Wild season tickets. There is now a chance they will get to see him play for the Wild. Lofquist has signed a pro hockey contract with the Houston Aeros of the American Hockey League. The Aeros are the primary farm club for the Minnesota Wild of the National Hockey League. Lofquist's contract is a 25-game amateur tryout contract (ATO). Lofquist made his debut with the Aeros on April 10, notching one assist.
Confidence was running high when the New Richmond baseball team went to Prescott last Friday. Perhaps too high. The Tigers went into the game unbeaten, but they didn't come out of the game that way. Sloppy defense and inattentive baserunning stung the Tigers in a 10-5 loss to the Cardinals. The result of that game left both of those teams tied with 2-1 records in the Middle Border Conference.