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 Middle Border Conference boys golf race remains knotted at the top with Osceola, Somerset and New Richmond all packed tightly among the leaders. New Richmond led the conference standings until Monday, when Osceola took over first place. Osceola took that step by winning a quad meet at the Amery Golf Club, where Somerset took second place and New Richmond finished third. Osceola won Monday's match on the par-37 Amery course by shooting a 158. Somerset finished at 163, followed by New Richmond at 169 and Amery at 178.
With their 4-0 win at Baldwin-Woodville on Monday, the Somerset girls soccer team has moved into a pack of teams in the lower half of the Middle Border Conference standings. If the Spartans can carry Monday's strong play into their next few games, they are in a position to hurdle past several teams in the MBC standings. Monday's win was a textbook example of the style coach Erin Wilson has been developing with the Spartans. She has been working with the team to possess the ball, make smart passes and limit the amount of time the opponent has the ball in the Spartans' end of the field.
The New Richmond baseball team took on three of the top contenders in the Middle Border Conference over the past week and beat them all, moving into a tie for the MBC leadership. On Monday Ellsworth, which was undefeated in MBC action, met the Tigers at Citizens Field. The Tigers were sharper in all aspects of the game, leading to an 11-4 win over the Panthers. New Richmond and Ellsworth are now tied at the top of the MBC standings with 5-1 records. Somerset is third at 4-2. Hitting was clearly in the Tigers' favor in this game.
Being a fan of the New Richmond softball team is not for the weak hearted. The Tigers played dramatic games against Somerset and Ellsworth in recent days, with each game ending in an 8-7 score. Last Thursday the Tigers built up an 8-2 lead then held on desperately to hold off Somerset's comeback as the Tigers won 8-7. On Monday it was the Tigers who tried to come back, but they fell one run short in their bid, losing at Hatfield Park to Ellsworth 8-7. The Tigers have a couple veteran players and are working in several young players.
The New Richmond track teams showed what they could do when they were at full strength on Friday. The Tigers won both halves of their home invitational meet against four other teams. New Richmond's boys won by a 57-point margin over second place Rice Lake.
The first Middle Border Conference tennis match of the season resulted in a decisive win for the New Richmond boys on Thursday. The Tigers rolled to a 6-1 win over Ellsworth in their MBC opener on Thursday. The Tigers swept the singles matches and took two of the three doubles matches. In the Tigers' six wins, they gave up a total of eight games.
Last week the Somerset baseball team found that it can't expect its pitching to win every game. On Monday the Spartan hitters took matters into their hands, beating Amery 7-5. The Spartans now stand at 4-2 in the Middle Border Conference standings. They are one game behind conference co-leaders Ellsworth and New Richmond. It took a three-run rally in the sixth inning for the Spartans to pull out Monday's win.
Joe Poulin's grand slam homer and refined pitching from Kyle Cress carried the St. Croix Central baseball team to a 9-1 win at Pepin on Monday. The win lifts the Panthers to 5-1 in Dunn-St. Croix Conference play. Their overall record stands at 7-3 after the win. The Panthers scored single runs in the first and third innings before breaking open Monday's game with a five-run uprising in the fourth inning. Poulin's grand slam homer, his fourth bomb of the season, decided the game in a hurry. Poulin and Cress each delivered three hits to pace the Panthers on Monday.
The Pepin and St. Croix Central softball teams both were unbeaten in Dunn-St. Croix Conference games entering Monday's game in Hammond. Now only St. Croix Central stands atop the D-SC standings. Pepin scored first, putting up four runs in the fourth inning. The Panthers matched that output in the bottom of the fourth, then tacked on four more runs in the fifth inning to win 7-4. Central coach Jimmy Anderson said he was surprised that the girls weren't more fired up for this game, with the conference lead on the line.
The pieces are there for the Somerset softball team, but putting them all together for a complete game has been difficult for the Spartans recently. On Monday the Spartans weren't able to hit with their usual authority. That resulted in the Spartans falling to Amery by an 11-1 score. The Spartans are now 2-4 in Middle Border Conference games. On Saturday the Spartans will play in a tournament at St. Croix Central. Their first game is scheduled for 9 a.m. against River Falls. Next Monday the Spartans will play at home against Osceola.