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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The condensed nature of this spring's sports season is likely the most difficult for teams that are trying to break out of losing ways. The New Richmond softball team is a clear example. The Tigers are young and struggling to put together wins. Because of the incredible volume of games packed into late April and early May, the Tigers have had two practices in the past two weeks. And that won't change this week, with games Monday, Tuesday, Thursday (double-header) and Friday. The Tigers are 1-9 this season after losing on their home field to Menomonie on Monday, 12-4.
The happiest team in Western Wisconsin last Thursday might have been the Somerset softball team. Not only did the Spartans beat their rivals from New Richmond once, they beat them twice. Playing in front of a large crowd on Staff Appreciation Night, the Spartans gave their home fans something to cheer about. The Spartans won the opening game 2-0 behind a shutout from senior pitcher Kayli Thanig. The Spartans then won the second game 6-5, with the Spartans mobbing Thanig after she struck out a New Richmond batter for the final out of the game.
The 2018 season for the New Richmond Millers adult baseball team is right around the corner. The Millers are scheduled to begin their 2018 season this Saturday with a 5 p.m. game at the Blaine Knights. The 2018 schedule for the Millers contains 21 games, 11 of which will be played at home at New Richmond's Citizens Field. The first home game of the season for the Millers will be played on Wednesday, May 23, when they host the Elmwood Expos at 7:30 p.m. in a St. Croix Valley Baseball League game.
If the Somerset girls soccer team wants to remain in the hunt for the Middle Border Conference title, the team might want to avoid field trips where overeating is an option. The Spartans were fortunate that last Thursday's game against Barron was the non-conference game in their two meetings this season. The Spartans lost the game 3-2. The loss was out of character for the Spartans, who were winners over Baldwin-Woodville and Spooner in their other games last week.
Led by huge nights from Blake Kretovics and Jack Bau, the New Richmond baseball team rolled to its eighth straight victory on Tuesday. The Tigers went to Baldwin-Woodville Tuesday for a Middle Border Conference game. The Tigers took charge early, with a seven-run second inning making the final outcome clear. The Tigers finished with a 17-3 victory.
With a settled lineup, success is beginning to come more frequently for the New Richmond boys tennis team. The Tigers won four of their five matches last week. They won Middle Border Conference matches played against Altoona and Ellsworth. The Tigers hosted their annual quad tournament on Saturday, defeating Amery and Altoona, but suffering a 4-3 loss against Baldwin-Woodville.
The weather conditions were some of the best ever in the 52 years of the Stan Barr New Richmond Relays, run last Friday. And in terms of competition, this year's Relays were some of the best ever, serving a dual purpose for the Tiger track teams. New Richmond's boys ranked fourth among the 14 teams in the meet, with the Tiger boys winning three event titles. The Tiger girls ranked eighth among the 14 teams.
St. Croix Central girls basketball standout Mia Krogseng has made her college decision. An NCAA letter of intent signing was held last Tuesday at the St. Croix Central High School gym, where Krogseng announced her decision to attend the University of St. Thomas. Krogseng ended her career as the St. Croix Central's all-time leading scorer with 1,519 total points. She was named Most Valuable Player of the Middle Border Conference this winter after leading the Panthers to their first MBC team championship.
At different times in the opening weeks of the St. Croix Central softball team's season, it has shown good pitching, hitting and defense. They haven't all come in the same game yet. Panther coach Mike Nilssen is encouraged by the good pieces the team has shown. The one thing that has consistently hurt the Panthers is allowing opponents to have big innings. And in the final game of last week, that didn't happen.
Nearly every loss in the past two seasons for the Somerset baseball team has come with a one-run difference. So when the Spartans finally won a one-run game last Thursday, it felt like the start of good things. And 24 hours later, the Spartans were enjoying another victory. The pivotal game for the Spartans was the best-pitched games in the Somerset program in years. Senior Brett Vetterkind needed just 67 pitches, 53 which went for strikes, to pitch the Spartans to a 2-1 Middle Border Conference win over Amery. The game needed only 85 minutes to be completed.