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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Facing a 1-3 start and sitting three games behind the Middle Border Conference leaders, the New Richmond softball team will try to take the patient approach to gain ground in the conference race. The Tigers fell to 1-3 in the MBC with a 7-5 loss at Hatfield Park on Monday. The schedule remains demanding for the Tigers as they try to overcome their slow start. The Tigers play at Somerset on Thursday. The Tigers start next week with two home games, facing Ellsworth on Monday and Amery on Tuesday. Hitting hasn't been the problem for the Tigers. They have been putting up healthy run totals.
The St. Croix Central baseball team is keeping the heat on Dunn-St. Croix Conference leader Elk Mound. The Panthers scored wins over Plum City and Boyceville to raise their D-SC record to 3-1. Elk Mound delivered the Panthers' only loss of the conference schedule. The Mounders sit atop the Large School Division of the D-SC with a 4-0 record. It took a little persistence from the Panthers to get their 5-3 win over Plum City on Monday. The Panthers didn't show much energy at the plate in the early innings.
It's hard to lose when you don't give up any runs. The Somerset baseball team proved that last week, throwing a pair of shutouts in winning both of their Middle Border Conference games. The week started with Nick Dvorak throwing a four-hit shutout to blank Osceola 11-0 in five innings. Jared Dettmann threw the Spartans' second no-hitter this season on Friday, in a 7-0 win over Prescott. The Spartans are now 5-0 this season. They have allowed four runs in those five games. Dettmann was untouchable for Prescott's young hitters on Friday. He struck out 15 batters in the no-hitter.
The Somerset softball team showed in wins over Osceola and Prescott last week that it is capable of becoming a contender in the Middle Border Conference. The Spartans followed those wins with losses to St. Croix Falls and Ellsworth that showed the team still has a distance to go in becoming a consistent winner. The marquee game for the Spartans was Thursday's 11-1 win over Prescott.
The St. Croix Central softball team got its best test so far in the Dunn-St. Croix Conference on Monday, beating Elk Mound 9-1. This was the first Panther game of the season that went the full seven innings. The Panthers are now 4-0 this season. To be a top level team, the Panthers have been stressing playing defense at that level. They did just that on Monday. They not only played an errorless game, but two Panther outfielders threw runners out on the bases during the game. Elk Mound's run came in the fifth inning.
The first win of the 2010 season for the Somerset girls soccer team came on Saturday and it couldn't have made the Spartans happier. The Spartans earned their first win of the season by beating New Richmond 1-0 in a tournament at River Falls on Saturday. This was the first win as a varsity coach for first year Somerset coach Erin Wilson. The Spartans followed up that win with another big performance in the second round of the tournament. In that game they tied River Falls, 1-1. The strong play in Saturday's tournament shows the Spartans are beginning to get comfortable in Wilson's system.
Tougher competition, especially from Hudson, showed the Somerset track teams that there's still plenty of work that needs to be done this season. The Spartan girls took second place in last Tuesday's Osceola Invitational, but they finished 35 points behind Hudson. The Spartan boys placed seventh among the nine teams, with Hudson and Forest Lake gobbling up the large majority of the points. In the True Team Meet at Hudson last Friday the Spartans were seventh among eight teams in both halves of the meet.
Thursday's 1-0 win was ground-breaking in two aspects for the New Richmond girls soccer team. This marked the first time in the team's history that the Tigers have beaten Amery. It also is the first time that the Tigers have started a season with three consecutive wins in their five seasons as a varsity sport. Defeating Amery is significant because the Warriors have long been considered one of the top teams in the Middle Border Conference.
Before school or after school, winter or summer, you can find New Richmond High School athletes working to build up their athletic abilities by working in the Tiger Strength program. The Tiger Strength program has been carefully groomed to be a complete system that serves athletes in each sport. "Four years ago we sat down as a coaching association.
Pitching and defense are where the New Richmond baseball team needs them to be after the first 2.5 games of the season. But hitting has lagged behind in the first week of the season for the Tigers. That resulted in losses to Osceola and Eau Claire Memorial. Last Tuesday's season opener at Hudson was suspended in the top of the fourth inning due to rain, with the Tigers leading 3-1.