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 and St. Croix Central track teams got one final chance to get a look at all of their team members before they hit the final stretch of large meets this season. That chance came last Friday, when Somerset held a triangular meet with St. Croix Central and Glenwood City as the visiting teams. Somerset was able to record team wins on both sides of the meet. Spartan girls coach Dave Praschak ranked this as one of the best performances of the season by his squad.
Westerdahl is medalist, Sanders scores ace There were significant highlights for all three local teams in the 2004 Somerset Golf Invitational, played Wednesday at Bristol Ridge Golf Course in Somerset. New Richmond took the team championship in the 25-team tournament. Somerset had the tournament medalist, with senior Andy Westerdahl setting a team record by shooting a par-round of 72. And St. Croix Central can claim the shot of the day. Central junior Mark Sanders stroked a hole-in-one on the 11th hole at Bristol Ridge.
It didn't make them feel warm all over, but it sure helped. Playing in a cold and rainy afternoon in Amery, the St. Croix Central baseball team rallied for nine runs in the final three innings to beat Amery 9-3 last Thursday. "It's a lot warmer when you win," said Central coach Mike Fern. The cold was compounded by the problems of Amery's pitchers. The Amery pitchers gave up 15 walks in the game. Central's hitters only came through with four hits, but they were well timed late in the game. The game was scoreless until Central broke through with five runs in the fifth.
The best test yet this season for the undefeated New Richmond softball team came Monday afternoon in Somerset. The Tigers seemed secure with a 7-1 lead midway through the sixth inning. But the Spartans rumbled back, scoring three runs in the sixth and three more in the seventh. The Tigers then scored once in the top of the eighth inning to steal away with an 8-7 win. The win raises the Tigers' season record to 11-0 and 9-0 in the Middle Border Conference.
The Somerset softball team may now realize its potential. That's what the Spartan coaches are hoping after the Somerset girls took the undefeated New Richmond team into extra innings on Monday night. The Spartans also beat Durand during the past week, but lost to Unity and Prescott. Monday's game was a showcase for the Spartans' possibilities. The top of the order continues to mash the ball. Kendra Steinlicht homered for the first Somerset run. Erin Dodor tripled and Mariah Belisle doubled as the Spartans rallied from a 7-1 deficit in the sixth and seventh innings.
The St. Croix Central softball team had done extremely well against teams from the small school division of the Dunn-St. Croix Conference...until Monday. Playing at Spring Valley, the Panthers were limited to four hits in a 12-1 loss to the Cardinals. The only Central run of the game was scored in the third inning. Jenna Heinbuch singled, then moved to second base on a sacrifice bunt by Marie Nelson.
Entering the grounds of the Somerset School District will require a different route, starting this summer. The Somerset Board of Education voted last week to agree with a proposal from the Village of Somerset that will significantly alter the placement of the school driveway. The new school driveway will be located approximately several hundred feet west of the current driveway down County Highway I. This is a joint project between the school district, the Village of Somerset and St. Croix County.
A team badly in need of a few breaks produced their own breaks on Monday. The St. Croix Central baseball team pulled out of a Dunn-St. Croix Conference losing streak by scoring three runs in the bottom of the seventh inning. That was enough to push the Panthers past Mondovi, 8-7. This was a back-and-forth game, especially in the late innings. The game was tied 2-2 heading into the sixth inning. Mondovi scored two runs in the sixth, but the Panthers came back with three runs to take a 5-4 lead into the seventh. In the seventh Mondovi tacked on three runs to lead 7-5.
The chance to finally compete outdoors resulted in a strong effort from the New Richmond track teams in a dual meet at Menomonie last Thursday. New Richmond's girls scored a 77-51 win over Menomonie. The Tiger boys scored a decisive 82-55 win over Menomonie. Boys coach Roger Reuvers was beaming after the meet with good reason. The boys had 20 personal bests in the meet and they were well distributed between the older and younger members of the team. Bryan Tschudy had been struggling with shin splints going into the meet, so Reuvers only put him in two events.
St. Croix Central's baseball team was hoping to get a winning streak rolling this week. That can still happen, though it didn't happen Monday. The Panthers ran into one of the top pitchers in the Dunn-St. Croix Conference in Osceola's Ross Benitz on Monday. Benitz held the Panthers to three hits as the Chieftains notched a 5-0 win. Central pitcher Tyler Cody looked like he was up to matching Benitz in Monday's game. Three Central errors changed all that.