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 two stateranked opponents and one of their main rivals led to an intense week where the New Richmond softball team showed that it can be competitive with nearly every team in the area. The Tigers defeated one state-ranked team, Grantsburg, and lost to another, BaldwinWoodville. In between, the Tigers lost a hotly contested game in extremely cold conditions against Somerset.
With the Rice Lake Invitational rained out on Thursday, it was the New Richmond junior varsity track athletes who got the opportunity to step to the forefront last week. The Tigers hosted a four-team JV meet, giving the younger Tigers a chance to compete against athletes from three other top programs, Hudson, River Falls and Osceola. New Richmond took second place in both halves of the meet. The New Richmond coaches were quite pleased with the effort from the Tiger athletes, with 20 new personal bests registered during the meet.
Since the Somerset girls soccer team made lineup changes following a loss to New Richmond on April 11, the Spartans have been playing incredibly well. In the five games since the changes were made, the Spartans are 4-0-1. They have allowed just one goal in those five games.
The recent stretch of wet weather is forcing teams into playing conditions that are less than ideal. That was the case for the New Richmond boys tennis team which hosted Amery in a Middle Border Conference match in the whipping winds that swept through the area. The Tigers showed maturity in not letting the weather affect their play in a 6-1 win over the Warriors at the New Richmond High School courts. Tiger coach Denise Devereux credited her players for understanding the situation and keeping their play at a high level.
There have been more rainouts than completed meets for the area golfers. One meet that was completed was the Bloomer Invitational on Friday. The Middle Border Conference represented itself quite well, with Somerset winning the tournament championship and St. Croix Central ranking fifth among the 19 teams in the tournament. St. Croix Central’s Drew Malecek and Somerset’s Wil Gauper tied for second place in the tournament, both of them shooting 77.
The game that seems to mean the most to the Somerset softball team each season is facing New Richmond. For this year’s Somerset seniors, they will know that the final time they played in New Richmond, they walked off the field as winners. The Spartans rallied for two runs in the seventh inning to complete a wild back-and-forth battle with the Tigers, 6-5. Somerset coach Cory Lindenberg said this was the first time he’s been part of a win over New Richmond in his seven seasons with the team.
It might be the first time in Somerset baseball history where the Spartans rolled up a 10-run inning and still weren’t able to win the game.
In a meet better suited for ducks than high school athletes, the St. Croix Central track coaches used last Tuesday’s meet at Baldwin-Woodville as an opportunity to get the team’s younger athletes their chance.
An early missed chance proved to be the only chance for the St. Croix Central softball team last Thursday. The Panthers loaded the bases in the first inning, but struggled to get baserunners home, as they have in several recent games. That proved to be the Panthers’ only scoring chance. They only had two baserunners in the final four innings in an 11-0 loss at Amery.
The St. Croix Central baseball team faced nine Wisconsin opponents in April. The Panthers didn’t score more than three runs against any of them. That offensive malaise is something the Panthers are hoping to shake off in May. They ended April with a 3-7 record, including losses against Baldwin-Woodville and Amery last Thursday and Friday. In their nine games against Wisconsin teams, the Panthers have scored a total of 18 runs. Their only larger outcome this season was in a 5-1 win against Calumet, Mich.