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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St. Croix Central's hopes of a Dunn-St. Croix Conference softball championship are on life support. The Panthers' hopes of a conference title suffered a damaging blow on Monday, when the Panthers lost a 10-inning gut-wrencher. Neither team could score until Spring Valley pushed across a run in the tenth to win 1-0. Both pitchers ruled this game. Central's Heather Rothbauer held Spring Valley to seven hits, striking out 10 Cardinal batters. Central was held to four hits by the Spring Valley hurler and the Panthers struck out 12 times. The Panthers had two good chances to score in the game.
The New Richmond softball team has been breaking down hitting to a science. On Monday, everything came together for the Tigers as they thrashed Somerset with one of the biggest hitting displays in years by a Tiger team. Both teams went into Monday's game with 2-0 records in the Middle Border Conference and for the first three innings it was a well-played game, with the Tigers leading 3-1.
A trip to La Crosse last Saturday proved to be the cure that got the New Richmond boys tennis team heading in the right direction this season. The Tigers scored their first two team victories of the season in the tournament, where they finished second among four teams. The wins came against Black River Falls and La Crosse Central. Their loss in the tournament came versus Menomonie, the second time last week the Tigers were topped by the Indians. New Richmond faced Menomonie in the opening round of the tournament and lost 5-2.
The Somerset and St. Croix Central track teams are busy sorting through where they stand early in the 2006 season. A meet last Thursday at Central helped the teams define where their athletes will be used in the rest of the season. Central's boys finished fourth and Somerset was fifth in the eight-team meet. Central's girls were able to take third place, while the Spartan girls were fifth in the meet. Central's girls are beginning to show they can put together a well-balanced team this season. The Panthers showed well in the relays, including scoring a win in the 400 relay.
The Somerset and St. Croix Central track teams picked up the pace of their competition in the 2006 season in a meet at Osceola last Tuesday. The meet showed that while it is still early, both teams are moving in the right direction. Somerset's girls finished third among eight teams, and the Spartan boys were seventh among nine teams.
Last year the St. Croix Central softball team started poorly, then surged ahead steadily through the rest of the season. After a rough start to the 2006 campaign, the Panthers are hoping for a repeat to that pattern. Last Thursday the Panthers scored their first Dunn-St. Croix Conference win of the season, a 10-0 blanking of Boyceville. The Panthers decided Thursday's game quickly, ringing up seven runs in the first inning. Another decisive moment of the first inning came after Boyceville's leadoff hitter singled.
Somerset's win in their MBC opener was capped by a dramatic finish. Prescott came back to tie the score 5-5 in the top of the seventh inning. The Spartans promptly scored in the bottom of the seventh to win 6-5 last Tuesday. Lisa Borgstrom led off the seventh inning with her fourth hit of the game, all of them coming on well-placed bunts. Katie Chevrier then walked and Shawna Pierce singled to load the bases. Borgstrom was then out on a fielder's choice at the plate. That brought Putz to the plate.
After getting a typical first game out of the way on Saturday, the New Richmond softball team looked like the team that reached the 2005 WIAA sectional tournament. New Richmond hosted a four-team tournament on Saturday. In the opening round, the Tigers faced Elmwood, one of the best small school programs in the western part of the state. Elmwood had already played two games, while it showed this was the Tigers' first game. Elmwood was able to get away with a 2-0 win. In the second round of the tournament the Tigers faced Unity.
The New Richmond girls soccer team scored its first varsity victory ever last Tuesday, scoring in the second half to beat Barron 1-0 at the St. Croix Press fields in New Richmond. Kelly Grandt gets the distinction of scoring the first goal in Tiger varsity history. Freshman Lea Lemire was in goal for the Tigers' first victory and she also gets credit for the Tigers' first shutout. Grandt's goal came late in the second half of the game, the result of two good passes. The first pass was by Steph Anderson, who got the ball wide to Brianna Richter.
Ten requests for students to enter the Somerset School District via open enrollment were denied by the Somerset Board of Education. The action was taken at a special school board meeting last Wednesday, following the results of last Tuesday's referendum. In the referendum voting, Somerset voters approved the purchase of 69.5 acres from the DeCosse family, but the voters denied the request for funds to add classrooms to two of the Somerset school buildings. The Somerset School District received 30 open enrollment requests this year.