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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After her seventh inning strikeout, Somerset's Erin Dodor went into the dugout and cried. It was symbolic of the frustration the Spartans felt in their 10-1 loss to St. Croix Central last Thursday. This game was the opener for both teams in the WIAA Division 3 regional tournament bracket. With the win Central advanced into Tuesday's second round of regionals against St. Croix Falls. The two teams took vastly different approaches to the game.
The Division 2 WIAA sectional track meet will be held at Colby on Thursday. There will be a ton of New Richmond, Somerset and St. Croix Central athletes competing in the sectional meet. New Richmond's girls advance nine individuals and three relays. The Tiger boys advance seven individuals and all four relays. Somerset's girls advance six individuals and three relays. Somerset's boys send two individuals and all four relays. St. Croix Central has one boy and two girls advancing in individual events. The New Richmond teams both finished in third place in the team rankings.
The "Last Chance" track meet at River Falls last Tuesday gave the New Richmond track teams one final chance to establish their times and distances for seeding before they competed in the Middle Border Conference Track Meet. The MBC meet was held on Tuesday. The Tigers are now gearing up for the WIAA Division 2 Regional Meet, which will be held Monday at Somerset. Neither of the Tiger coaches said they were concerned about team scores in last Tuesday's River Falls meet. Girls coach Brent Aukema went as far as only having his girls compete in individual events.
Look for a flurry of hiring activity within the Somerset School District in June. The school district administration hopes to have a new high school principal, new high school guidance counselor and three teaching vacancies caused by recent retirements filled by the June 21 Somerset Board of Education meeting. The application period for candidates for the new high school principal will close this Friday. New district administrator Randy Rosburg, the former high school principal, began working on Monday to narrow down the candidate list.
Somerset's softball team found out Monday why St. Croix Falls received the top seed in the WIAA Division 3 regional tournament that starts this week. Somerset hosted St. Croix Falls in a non-conference game on Monday. The Saints had a slight edge in all phases of the game, resulting in a 7-1 win for St. Croix Falls. The game was scoreless until the fourth inning, when the Saints bunched five hits, turning them into five runs.
The number of baserunners Somerset and Baldwin-Woodville had in Monday's softball game was almost identical. It was the hitting that was done when there were runners on base that was the difference. Baldwin-Woodville popped a pair of two homers in Monday's game, to defeat the Spartans 5-1. The loss pushes Somerset's overall record back below .500, at 8-9. "Only one of our hits came with someone on base," said Somerset coach Jane Driscoll, referring to Erin Dodor's sixth inning triple that scored Claire Blue.
The 4-2 win at Boyceville on Monday is what St. Croix Central baseball coach Mike Fern hopes will get his team started on a late-season charge. Last week the Panthers played two of the Dunn-St. Croix Conference leaders and had hoped for better results, but lost both. Monday's win again showed that the Panthers can be a team with all the elements to be a quality team.
The New Richmond boys tennis team earned its first conference championship since 1998 last Thursday. By beating Ellsworth 6-1, the Tigers lock up the undisputed 2004 Middle Border Conference championship, finishing MBC regular season play with a pristine 5-0 record. The Tigers had beaten Eau Claire Regis by a 6-1 score last Tuesday to assure themselves of a share of the conference title. "The kids are playing well and hopefully they can maintain their level of performance into subsectionals and sectionals," said New Richmond coach Mike Montello.
Lynnae Kistner's pitching gem assured the New Richmond girls softball team a share of the Middle Border Conference championship. Kistner threw a no-hitter at Durand on Monday, beating the Panthers 9-0. This assures New Richmond of at least a share of its first Middle Border Conference softball championship since 1996. The Tigers were scheduled to play Osceola on Tuesday and will play at Baldwin-Woodville on Thursday.
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.