Baseball: New Richmond Millers break into the win column
The first win finally happened for the New Richmond Millers this weekend.
The second win should have happened too.
The win came Friday night when the Millers hosted the Metro Knights in a non-league game at Citizens Field. The Millers had their best pitching of season in Friday's game, defeating the Knights, 2-1, in 10 innings.
The Millers had to turn right around and head to Menomonie for a 1 p.m. game Sunday. The Millers and Eagles both had enough errors to fill a bushel basket, but the game was even. It wasn't until the 12th inning that the Eagles could score the deciding run for a 9-8 victory.
Friday's win was sorely needed not just because it was the first venture into the win column for the Millers this season, but it was also the best combination of pitching and defense the team has put together this season. The pitching was provided mainly by Grant Riemenschneider. He was dealing. He handled the first six innings, striking out eight while allowing one hit and two walks.
The final two innings were pitched by Austin Juhl, doing his first pitching since high school. He could bring it then and he can bring it now. He picked up the win with his two shutout frames. Millers manager Ryan Stephens said Juhl was impressive with the quantity of strikes he threw.
The hitting remains anemic for the MIllers. They got four hits Saturday, but turned them into two runs.
The Knights scored in the top of the eighth, but the Millers answered in the bottom of the inning. Logan Peterson walked to lead off the eighth. Jordan Luehman put down a sacrifice bunt and Jaryd Marks doubled to score Peterson.
The same combination produced the winning run for the Millers in the tenth inning. Peterson reached on an error and Luehman bunted him to second. Marks put a single down the right-field line that gave Peterson time to sprint home with the game-winner.
Peterson has been one of the revelations for the Millers this season. He's become a quality leadoff hitter and, on defense at third base, he's making the tough plays look easy.
"He wants the ball hit at him," Stephens said. "Logan's playing phenomenal defense."
The Millers' pitching was better Sunday than a 9-8 score might indicate. Coleman Roskam started a bit shaky, but finished with three shutout innings. He left after five innings trailing 3-2.
In the seventh inning the Millers took advantage of some shoddy Menomonie defense to build a 6-4 lead. Juhl and Caleb Belter singled and Luehman produced an RBI double during the rally.
Menomonie tied the game in the bottom of the seventh. The score remained 6-6 until the 12th, with Dante LaDuke providing quality relief pitching for the Millers. In the top of the 12th, the Millers scored twice. The Millers used three walks and an RBI single from Luehman to score twice.
Menomonie answered with three runs in the bottom of the 12th, combining hits and errors. The winning run came home on a suicide squeeze bunt.
Luehman, Belter and Juhl led the offense with two hits each Sunday. They were the only hits produced by the Millers. Juhl scored three times.
The Millers resume their SCVBL schedule this Friday. They will host the River Falls Fighting Fish at 7:30 p.m. at Citizens Field. The Millers will also play Sunday, in a 1 p.m. start at Spring Valley.