New Richmond Millers manager Ryan Stephens compared his team’s play on Sunday night to Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
When they were good, they were very good. When they were bad, things got a little scary. After a good start where the Millers led 3-0, their play decayed in the middle of the game and the Millers lost to Spring Valley 11-5 in a St. Croix Valley Baseball League game.
Sunday’s game starts a busy July for the Millers. On Wednesday, they will play at River Falls at 7:30 p.m. That’s the starting time for the Millers’ annual Fun Fest game on Friday, with Hudson serving as the opponent. The Millers will play at Bay City at 1 p.m. on Sunday.
Before Friday’s game, the Millers will dedicate a picnic table in the memory of Vernon Conrad. Conrad, who was one of the Millers’ most loyal and vocal fans, died in December.
Sunday’s game started well for the Millers, who took a 3-0 lead in the second inning. Noah Towberman reached on an error to start the inning. Jaryd Marks knocked him in with a double, and Austin Juhl and John Earley followed with run-scoring singles.
Dante LaDuke started on the mound for the Millers and he breezed through the first four innings. That breeze turned into a tempest in the fifth inning. LaDuke was tagged for three runs. Marks offered no relief, getting knocked around for four runs.
The Millers got two runs back in the bottom of the fifth, but it would be the last hurrah for their offense. Spring Valley added four runs late against the Millers’ bullpen.
Where the Millers were good, they were very good. That pertained mainly to the offense, where they generated nine hits. That included two doubles and a single from Marks and a triple from Jack Bau. But the relief pitching, errors (6) and strikeouts (13) showed several areas where the Millers were suspect.
“We’re so Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, in every aspect,” Stephens said. “The offense was there. We had our chances.”