This week just keeps getting better for the New Richmond varsity baseball team.
On Sunday the Tigers received the second seed in the WIAA Division 2 regional tournament bracket. The Tigers followed that up by defeating River Falls, the only team seeded ahead of them in the regional, on Monday, 11-9.
On Tuesday, the Tigers faced their nearest competition in the Middle Border Conference standings, St. Croix Central. The Tigers put on an absolute hitting clinic, raking Panther pitchers for 14 hits in 25 at-bats in a 12-1 Tiger victory. The win raises the Tigers’ overall record to 15-6. They have already locked up the MBC title, where they stand 12-0. Central is now 6-5 in MBC games.
The Tigers opened the game with five runs in the first inning and they scored in all four innings they stepped to the plate. The numbers say New Richmond has the best pitching staff in the MBC and Central may be second in that department. Central used all four of its top pitchers, but still the Tigers were able to produce gaudy numbers. Every Tiger starter had at least one hit.
Tiger coach Travis Helland said he didn’t think his team started the game with a lot of energy, coming off the River Falls win. He said several of his seniors took it upon themselves to get their team fired up.
“I can’t think of one guy who wasn’t locked in at the plate,” Helland said. “We had 14 hits and a couple of the outs were line drive outs.”
The Tigers opened the first inning with five straight hits. Hayden Bradbury and Jack Bau had doubles in that outburst and Charlie Thibodeau, Cooper Eckardt and Reece Lucas all had singles. Helland said Thibodeau was important in the team’s success as the leadoff hitter. He ignited the offense by leading off the first and second inning with hits.
Senior Ryan Kling showed why the Tiger pitching staff is considered the best in the conference. Kling limited the Panthers to two hits while improving his season record to 8-1. Central’s only run came in the fourth inning. Derek Myer was hit by a pitch and he scored on Zac Holme’s double.
Central coach Tom Sauve said the credit should go to New Richmond’s hitters.
“They hit the ball hard, per usual,” Sauve said.
The Tigers will be back in action on Thursday when they play at Somerset. Central is slated to host Amery on Thursday.
If the Spartans were looking for a signature win for the 2019 season, this may have been it. Flawless pitching and defense, combined with a couple timely hits, carried the Spartans to a 3-1 homefield victory on Tuesday.
The win raises Somerset’s MBC record to 5-6 and the Spartans stand at 12-8 overall.
Both teams had stellar pitching efforts. Somerset senior AJ Beasley limited Prescott to six hits and did not walk a batter, while striking out five.
“AJ threw his best game I’ve seen him throw in high school,” said Somerset coach Zac Eichten. “All his pitches were working.”
Somerset’s defense played errorless ball behind Beasley.
Somerset was limited to five hits, but they came in timely situations. Prescott scored its only run in the first inning. Somerset took back the lead in the second inning on a two-run single from Jimmy Siggens. Somerset added an insurance run in the fifth inning when Ryan Kelly singled home Siggens.
Eichten said both teams played extremely sharply, resulting in the game only taking 75 minutes to play. The game carried special meaning for Eichten because it came against Prescott, which is perennially among the top teams in the MBC.
“I look up to (Prescott coach) Jeff Ryan quite a bit. He runs his program the right way,” Eichten said.
Somerset will be back in action Thursday, hosting New Richmond at Larry Forrest Park.