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 Somerset softball team has seen some pretty sharp pitching in recent games. The only way the Spartans could win a game this week was to have one of their pitchers throw a no-hitter. The no-hitter came during the Siren Invitational on Saturday, where the Spartans played three games. They also lost in their only Middle Border Conference game of the past week, in a 5-0 homefield decision against Baldwin-Woodville on Monday. The no-hitter was accomplished by Spartan sophomore Bethany Starry against PACT Charter School from Ramsey, Minn.
Somerset's girls soccer team earned its third win of the Middle Border Conference season, and its second win against Baldwin-Woodville, by beating the Blackhawks 2-0 last Thursday. Somerset started the week tied with Superior for sixth place in the MBC standings with 3-8 record. If a game is measured on scoring chances, Somerset had a huge game against Baldwin-Woodville. The game was scoreless at halftime, but only because of the fearless play of the B-W goalkeeper.
Three games into the season, the New Richmond Millers have not yet found the form that made them a playoff team in 2009. In Saturday's 5-1 loss to Ellsworth the Millers were not sharp in any of the game. This drops the Millers to 0-3 for the season. This was the second loss in St. Croix Valley League action. Millers manager Ryan Stephens tried to find a bright side to the slow start.
Somerset's girls track team wasn't trying to win the title at the Colfax Invitational, but they nearly did anyway. The Spartans didn't hang around for the end of last Tuesday's meet. When they received the results the next day, they found they'd missed the meet championship by one point.
St. Croix Central's hitters got healthy on Monday, as the Panther baseball team pounded out bushels of hits in a 25-13 win over Glenwood City. This game was decided in the second inning, when the Panthers pumped 15 runs across the plate. The win raises the Panthers' record to 6-4 in Dunn-St. Croix Conference games and keeps their hopes alive of finishing in second place in the large school division of the conference. Glenwood City is woefully inexperienced this season and has won only once this season. Central coach Mike Fern kept that in mind with his plans for the game.
The New Richmond football program is staying in the Middle Border Conference, for at least the next two years. On Friday the WIAA announced its plans for football-only realignment plans across the state. This comes on the heels of the failed attempt to completely revamp the system for football in the state.
Somerset's boys golf team has never won a Middle Border Conference title. The Spartans could make that change on Monday and Tuesday. Somerset now holds the lead in the MBC golf race after winning a 12-team match at their home course, Bristol Ridge Golf Club, on Tuesday. That win must have given the Spartans a huge confidence boost. The next day they played in the Siren Invitational, winning the meet by 45 strokes over second place Grantsburg.
The New Richmond Relays were forced to be shifted back to Monday night, but that didn't prevent the athletes from the 10 schools from putting on quite a show. New Richmond's boys took second place in the meet and the Tiger girls tied for third place. Hudson was the champion in the boys meet and Menomonie narrowly edged Hudson for the girls title. Somerset's girls placed fifth in the meet, one point behind New Richmond and Ellsworth. Somerset's boys were able to take sixth place in the meet. The Tiger boys were champions in two events.
The Middle Border Conference baseball co-leaders, New Richmond and Ellsworth, both had to overcome challenges from second division teams on Monday night. New Richmond trailed winless Durand through the first half of the game, before breaking the game open with a six-run fifth inning to win 11-4. Ellsworth had a tougher time with Amery. The Panthers needed eight innings to dispatch Amery, 3-2. The Tigers didn't have one of their best hitting nights in Monday's rain. They were held to four hits by the Durand pitchers.
Facing Somerset seems to bring out the best in the New Richmond softball team. The Tigers ended a four-game losing streak by beating Somerset 5-1 in windy, wet conditions at New Richmond's Hatfield Park on Monday. This leaves New Richmond, Somerset and Osceola tied for fifth place in the Middle Border Conference standings with 4-8 records. There are two rounds of MBC play remaining, starting with Thursday's games. On Thursday New Richmond will play at Ellsworth, while Somerset is at home against Amery. New Richmond scored all its runs in two innings of Monday's game.