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New Richmond Millers begin 2017 season on Sunday

The 2016 season was a transition season for the New Richmond Millers.

The city league baseball team worked a number of younger players into the lineup last season. It resulted in the Millers only winning three games in the St. Croix Valley Baseball League.

The Millers are hoping the growth pains they endured in 2016 will result in a higher win total in 2017. The Millers start their 2017 season this Sunday with a 1 p.m. game at Bay City.

The Millers will be back in the northern half of the SCVBL, along with Hudson, River Falls, Osceola, Menomonie and Spring Valley.

Ryan Stephens returns as the Millers’ manager. While the team will be one of the youngest in the league (outside of 46-year-old Jon Will), Stephens said he thinks the team will show more of its upside this season. He said that starts with catcher Caleb Manecke, a redshirt freshman at Bemidji State University.

“I think he’s a future team MVP,” Stephens predicted.

The team has plenty of options around the infield and outfield. Logan Peterson made a strong impression in his first season at third base last year. Will, Joey Gaspord, Tommy Grygienc and Jordan Luehman give the Millers plenty of options at second base and shortstop. Curt Kleinschmidt returns as the first baseman. Cal Hehling returns as the designated hitter.

This season’s outfielders are one of the fastest groups the Millers have ever possessed. With Nate Olin, Austin Juhl, Aaron Moore, Caleb Belter and Brock Luehman, speed is plentiful.

Several of the outfielders will also be seeing time on the mound this season. Coleman Roskam and Cam Hausman are two of the leading candidates to be starting pitchers this season. New Richmond varsity baseball coach Travis Helland is another possibility in the pitching department. Olin and Belter will likely see more time on the mound than they did last season.

Stephens doesn’t want to overburden his pitchers this season. He said he’s planning to use three hurlers in every game so the pitchers will still have pop on their pitches at the end of the season.

Stephens said he’s always looking for more players to fill out the roster, especially young talent looking to sustain the team’s history.

“We need to make sure the legacy of the Millers keeps going. I think the future is bright,” Stephens said.

Anyone interested in trying out for the team can contact Stephens at .

Dave Newman

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 more than 30 years.

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