River Falls Post 121 scored four runs in the fourth inning to tie the score but New Richmond pushed the winning run across in the top of the eighth to earn a 5-4 victory in the first round of the Class AA American Legion Regional Tournament in Black River Falls Friday, July 19.
It was the first win in three tries for New Richmond against defending state champion River Falls this season. Post 121 moves into the loser’s bracket of the double elimination tournament to face either Tomah or Black River Falls Saturday, July 19.
“We had stretches of good baseball, but didn’t compete to our level of expectations for seven complete innings,” Post 121 head coach Ryan Bishop said. “And because of that our path to win the regional just got a lot harder.”
New Richmond scored an unearned run in the top of the first and three more in the second to take an early 4-0 lead before River Falls tied it up in the bottom of the fourth on a lead-off double by Tyler Penny and three straight singles by Cole Evavold, James Westhoff and Jaden Schwantz.
River Falls left two runners on in the bottom of the sixth but didn’t get another baserunner while New Richmond scored the go-ahead run on a two out double and base hit in the top of the eighth.
“It’s always tough to lose an extra inning game, but even tougher to swallow when we feel it should have never gotten to extra innings,” Bishop said. “We missed some early opportunities in the field and on the base paths that would have definitely changed the game.”
Joe Stoffel worked the first six innings on the mound, allowing four runs, three earned, on five hits with seven strikeouts and six walks. Jake Lindsay took the loss, allowing one run on three hits in two innings of work. Schwantz, Adam Feyereisen, Penny and Westhoff had two hits each at the plate.
Bishop said the team will go back to work Saturday against either Tomah or Black River Falls.
“Our goal this summer has been to compete every single pitch, whatever your capacity is at that moment,” he said. “When we do that, collectively, we’re a tough team to beat. We continue to strive for consistency in our pitch to pitch competition.”