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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Somerset's trio of standout starting pitchers may have just added a fourth member. Junior Dakota Belter made the most of his first starting pitching opportunity of the season on Monday, throwing a six-inning no-hitter as the Spartans pummeled Durand 13-0. Belter wasn't scheduled to pitch Monday, but Nick Dvorak was sent home with strep throat. Belter, who has pitched in relief several times, stepped in and pitched flawlessly. The only threat of the hit came in the third inning, when Durand's leadoff hitter bounced a chopper up the middle.
The New Richmond girls soccer team got back at Spooner for handing them their only conference loss when the Tigers topped the Rails 2-1 last Thursday. All three goals were scored in the first half. Spooner scored a few minutes into the game, when a nice centering pass was quickly converted into a goal. The Tigers struggled early, but one breakaway turned their play around. Kaycie Anderson, Amanda Ramsey and Laura Troftgruben all broke out together. Anderson got the ball to Ramsey, who took the ball deep into the left corner of the field.
Any team is capable of beating another team in the Middle Border Conference softball race this season. That's largely because there are very few experienced pitchers in the conference. New Richmond is emblematic of that issue. When the young Tiger pitchers are able to hit their targets, the team does well, as they did in a 4-3 win at Amery last Tuesday. Amery followed up that loss by beating Prescott, the MBC leader.
A split in their Middle Border Conference matches last week knocked the New Richmond boys tennis team out of a share of the Middle Border Conference lead. The Tigers defeated Amery last Tuesday to run their conference record to 2-0. The first blemish on the Tigers' MBC record came last Thursday against Altoona, where the Tigers lost 6-1. Defeating Amery The Tigers improved to 2-0 in MBC matches last Tuesday when they defeated Amery 5-2. The Tigers swept the singles matches against Amery. Justice Harvieux led the way, winning the one singles match 6-2, 6-4.
The field of teams was cut in half, but the New Richmond boys track team was happy to win the championship in the Ellsworth Invitational on Monday. The meet had been postponed last Friday because of heavy rainstorms. The meet on Monday was still run in spotty rain showers. New Richmond's boys scored 113.5 points to win the meet, with Ellsworth placing second with 93 points. There were nine schools originally scheduled to compete in the meet on Friday. On Monday, there were five boys teams and four girls teams taking part. The Tiger girls took fourth place in the meet.
Monday's 6-2 win against Mondovi keeps the St. Croix Central baseball team one game out of first place in the large school division of the Dunn-St. Croix Conference. The Panthers had a chance to move into a tie for the D-SC lead when Elk Mound suffered its first loss of the season against Boyceville last Thursday.
Progress. That's what the St. Croix Central track coaches are looking for in the middle of the season. And the coaches believe they are seeing progress. The Panthers competed in the Baldwin-Woodville Invitational last Tuesday, with the Central boys taking third place and the girls taking fourth place among the six schools entered in their halves of the meet. The veteran athletes continue to be right on schedule. The coaches are gearing the season toward the May 18 Dunn-St. Croix Conference Track Meet. Distance runner Anna Langer is an example for the girls.
While the St. Croix Central softball team continues to tear through Dunn-St. Croix Conference teams like a weed whacker, the Panthers haven't been as successful in non-conference games. The Panthers hosted their home tournament on Saturday and Central's opening effort was not one of its finest moments. The Panthers were outhit and they struggled defensively. That this happened against their neighbors from the east, Baldwin-Woodville, only made matters worse. The Panthers lost the game 7-3. Central did manage to come back in the second round of the tournament to beat Somerset 6-4.
Somerset's softball team continues to show glimmers of becoming a winning team, but wins continue to be elusive for the Spartans. Somerset fell to Osceola 22-11 at Larry Forrest Park in Somerset on Monday. The Spartans are one of three teams tied for fifth place in the Middle Border Conference standings with 3-6 records. Defense was the main issue for the Spartans in Monday's game. The Spartans led at the end of the first two innings, but defensive breakdowns in the outfield led to several big innings for the Chieftains. Somerset led 3-1 after one inning and 5-4 after two innings.
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.