It’s tournament season in the American Legion baseball world.
The New Richmond Junior Legion team hosted its regional tournament this weekend, but was unable to advance to state. The New Richmond seniors and St. Croix Central juniors will be playing in their state qualifiers this upcoming weekend.
New Richmond juniors
New Richmond was one of six teams that competed in the regional tournament on Friday through Sunday.
New Richmond started the tournament Friday afternoon, losing to Chippewa Falls 5-3. Jaxon Altena, Brock Unger and Hayden Hatella split the pitching as the coaches tried to keep all their pitching alternatives available for later games. New Richmond was held to four hits in the loss.
The loss moved New Richmond to the loser’s bracket, leading to a game against Arcadia Saturday morning. New Richmond took charge with a seven-run second inning, leading to a 13-3 win. Altena pitched the complete game, allowing one earned run and four hits while striking out seven.
Dominic LaDuke led the offense, reaching base in all four at-bats, with two doubles, and he scored all four times. Lane Bauer had two hits and two runs. Everyone in the New Richmond lineup scored at least one run.
That put New Richmond against the hard-hitting River Falls lineup. New Richmond took a 9-3 loss, knocking Post 80 out of the tournament. LaDuke pitched the first five innings, with Jackson Espiritu pitching scoreless relief.
New Richmond’s best chance was in the fourth inning. Post 80 scored twice, but a close call ended the threat.
New Richmond also played two doubleheaders during the win. Post 80 swept a pair of games against Chippewa Falls on Monday, winning 9-3 and 12-2. Altena led the offense by driving home four runs. He and Parker Stevens both scored twice in the opener. In the second game, Espiritu delivered three hits, with Unger, Altena and Austin Bessac each had two hits.
Post 80 faced Hudson on Wednesday and was shut out in both games. New Richmond had a total of five hits in the two games.
St. Croix Central
Central’s Senior Legion team will join with Baldwin to host the Class A regional tournament, starting this Friday. Central won’t play its first game until 10 a.m. on Saturday, facing the winner of the game between Osceola and Altoona. Plum City and Baldwin will be the other first round game.
The Central teams went 4-0 last week as the pitchers combined to limit their opponents to five runs in four games.
First up was a sweep against Prescott last Monday, 7-0 and 5-3. Five pitchers worked the two wins with Central putting up a well-balanced hitting attack.
The wins continued on Friday when the Central seniors played at Baldwin. Central had everything working, with the pitching and hitting both shining. Central won the opener 7-0, then capped the night with a 17-2 win.
Mason Dado threw a one-hit shutout in the opener. His biggest support came from a homer by Spencer Trainor.
There was also a homer for Central in the second game, this time with Cole Becker delivering the big knock. Brady O’Brien pitched the complete game, with the two Baldwin runs being unearned.
“Everyone just pounded the ball. They’re playing at a really high level,” Central coach Dan O’Brien said of Friday’s sweep.
Central has one game to play before the weekend tournament. That will happen on Wednesday when they play at Osceola.
New Richmond seniors
The regional Senior Legion tournament will be played this weekend at Black River Falls. New Richmond plays first at 5:30 p.m. against River Falls, with a game between Tomah and Black River Falls to follow.
The seniors started last week losing a pair of 13-11 games. They lost to Oakdale on Wednesday and Mahtomedi on Wednesday. Nolan Eckert and Charlie Thibodeau both had three hits in Monday’s game and Gabe Melby drove home three runs. Eckert and Eric Moberg both scored three times in Wednesday’s game. Thibodeau again had three hits and Melby matched Monday’s RBI total.
The week ended with a doubleheader at Prescott on Thursday. Post 80 won the opener 2-1 and Prescott won the second game 7-6.
Reece Lucas pitched the first six innings in the win for Post 80, with Thibodeau getting the save. New Richmond’s only runs came on a Fred Riba single in the fourth inning.
New Richmond scored five runs in the first inning of the second game, but couldn’t hang onto the lead. The game ended after four innings due to darkness. Brady Cunningham’s two hits were tops on the team.