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New Richmond Millers beat Eau Claire; host Osceola in Fun Fest clash Friday

The success is starting to happen for the New Richmond Millers.

They’re hoping the recent uptick in success will carry into this Friday’s game against Osceola, which is the annual renewal of this rivalry that is part of the New Richmond Fun Fest celebration.

The Millers are coming off an 8-5 win over the Eau Claire Bears at Eau Claire’s Stein Field on Friday night.

New Richmond manager Ryan Stephens said he had a good feeling about Friday’s game when 14 players showed up to make the trip for a non-league game. Stephens said the Millers are becoming a close-knit group and that bond is starting to show results on the field.

Friday’s game was another where the Millers took a big step forward offensively. The team racked up 16 hits in the game, with five players each collecting two hits. That included Caleb Manecke, Nate Olin, Jon Will, Tommy Grygienc and Aaron Moore.

Pitching remains the big question for the Millers. They got a highly encouraging effort from lefthander Dante LaDuke on Friday. LaDuke showed durability, handling the first seven innings for the longest outing of his season. LaDuke got into a couple jams, but was able to pitch out of them without giving up a big inning.

It was the Millers who produced the big inning and it swung the final result in their favor. The Millers trailed 3-2 heading into the sixth inning. The Millers used five hits and a critical Eau Claire error to score four runs. The Millers never trailed after that.

Grygienc, Grant Riemenschneider and Moore all singled to load the bases in the sixth. Manecke singled home Grygienc for the first run of the inning. Nate Olin then ripped a single to leftfield. The ball squirted past the Eau Claire outfielder. By the time it was retrieved, three runs had scored and the Millers were in charge.

Two insurance runs were added in the eighth inning. With Riemenschneider and Moore on base, Caleb Belter faced a new Eau Claire pitcher. He jumped on the first pitch, lining a two-run single to rightfield.

Early in the game, the Millers scored single runs in the second and third innings. Grygienc doubled home Will for the second inning score. Brock Luehman singled to lead off the third inning. He scored when Manecke reached on a throwing error.

Stephens made sure every player who made the trip to Eau Claire got at least two at-bats in Friday’s game. He said every player contributed to the win.

“It was a fun game. The guys are swinging the bats; they’re amped,” he said.

The Millers are hoping to carry that enthusiasm into Friday’s game. The Braves have gotten the upper hand in several of the recent Fun Fest games and the Millers would like to reverse that trend.

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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