Thursday Sports: Tigers, Spartans use game as playoff primer
When the New Richmond and Somerset baseball teams met Thursday, it was clear the upcoming WIAA playoff game between these rivals was more on the minds of the opposing coaches than the current game.
Both coaches used the game to get pitchers some needed innings. The teams traded the lead early in the game, but New Richmond took off in the late innings to build up a 13-5 win.
It was clear from the start that neither team was going to allow their top pitcher to go anywhere near the pitcher’s mound. New Richmond had ace pitcher Ryan Kling at third base and Somerset had its ace, AJ Beasley, stationed at shortstop.
Both teams are facing busy schedules so they took different routes to handling their pitching. New Richmond sent senior Reece Lucas to the mound with the plan: finish what you start. Lucas has been struggling a bit with his mechanics and Tiger coach Travis Helland said the best way for Lucas to find his stuff was to keep throwing. After giving up five early runs, Lucas blanked the Spartans over the final four innings.
Somerset sent Jimmy Siggens to the mound, for his first time on the mound since the tournament in Mauston in early April.
“We know they are a great fastball hitting team so we tried to throw them off a little,” Somerset coach Zac Eichten said in utilizing Siggens’ variety of off-speed pitches.
The Tigers reached Siggens for four runs in the opening inning, but he kept the Tigers off the scoreboard the next two innings. After three innings, Somerset was leading 5-4.
From there, the Tigers began to time Siggens and reliever Jack Branch, scoring nine runs between the fourth and sixth innings.
The Tiger attack was again led by senior Jack Bau. Bau reached base in all five of his plate appearances. He bashed doubles in his first three at-bats before being walked and hit by a pitch in his final appearances. Bau is hitting .588 in conference games, where he averages two runs and two RBI a game.
Lucas, Charlie Thibodeau, Hayden Bradbury and Drew Momchilovich all had two hits for the Tigers. Helland said Momchilovich has quietly been having a very productive season. He’s hitting .361 and has scored 12 runs in 13 conference games.
Beasley and Jack Gazdik led Somerset with two hits each. Siggens drove home two of the Spartans’ runs.
Eichten said he felt the Spartans were much more competitive against the Tigers than when the teams met earlier this season.
“I was encouraged for how we played,” Eichten said. “We’re a different team. Going into (the playoff game), who knows?”
Both teams will be in action again on Friday. New Richmond hosts Menomonie while Somerset hosts Altoona.
After a humiliating loss against New Richmond on Tuesday, the Panthers needed someone to step up and turn the team back in the right direction. That someone was senior Derek Myer. Myer threw a two-hit shutout in leading the Panthers to a 10-0 win over Amery.
Central coach Tom Sauve said Myer had excellent support whenever Amery got someone on base. That started in the first inning when Amery’s Brett Forrest singled and tried to steal second. Central catcher Zac Holme threw out Forrest at second base, with Luke Holme applying the tag.
Sauve said Central shortstop Trevor Miller also had an excellent defensive game, Miller started a double play in the fourth inning, catching a short pop fly and in one motion, firing to first base to double off a baserunner.
The top of the batting order for the Panthers was outstanding. Keagen Berg, Wyatt Sundby and Myer combined to get on base in 10 of their 12 plate appearances. Sundby had three hits, Berg walked three times and Myer had two hits and two walks.
Miller and Mason Dado also had two hits in the win.
The Panthers will get an interesting challenge on Friday. They trek north to play at defending Division 3 state champion Webster.
The Spartans are hoping for a matchup at Ashland in the second round of the WIAA Division 3 regional tournament. They got the perfect rehearsal for an Ashland trip Thursday by playing at Washburn, which is just up the Lake Superior coast from Ashland.
The Spartans won Thursday’s game, 5-0. This is Somerset’s eight shutout, which was one of the team’s goals for the season. The win raises Somerset’s record to 12-3-1.
Erin Huerta got the scoring started for Somerset. Satin Mull scored twice and Taylor Paulson and Rachel Webb also scored, with Webb’s goal coming directly off a corner kick.
“It was a good test run, getting off the bus and having to play well,” Somerset coach Bill Roll said of Thursday’s road trip.
The Spartans finish the regular season on Monday when they host Rice Lake, which earned the top seed in the Division 3 regional bracket. Somerset is the third seed, which is the highest seed for Somerset since the WIAA switched to a four-division system. After Monday’s game, the Spartans have 10 days to get ready for their tournament opener when they host Baldwin-Woodville.
New Richmond tennis
The Tigers split their matches on Thursday in their annual triangular with River Falls and Hudson that precedes the WIAA Division 1 subsectional meet.
The Tigers defeated River Falls 6-1 on Thursday, but lost to Hudson 7-0. New Richmond swept the singles matches against River Falls, with Trent Ziebol, Logan Denucci, Dave Miller and Tyler Dennis all earning wins. In doubles, the Tigers got wins from their No. 2 team of Quentin Davis and Jack Hayes and the No. 3 team of Joe Casey and Ray Osterbauer.
Next up for the Tigers is the Division 1 subsectional meet, which will be played Monday in Eau Claire.
There were two local sports events scheduled for Saturday and weather has forced the cancellation of both. New Richmond’s girls soccer team was scheduled to host La Crosse Central. That game will not be made up.
Somerset’s baseball team was scheduled to host Amery. That will be made up as part of a double-header in Amery on Monday, which will start at 3:30 p.m.