Fish drop opener
A shorthanded River Falls Fighting Fish baseball team suffered an 11-1 loss to Pine Island, Minn., in its season opener Sunday in Pine Island.
Playing without former Wildcats Ryan Gilbertson, Adam Stuessel and Brian Giebel, the Fish fell victim to an eight-run fifth inning by the Pioneers on their way to seven-inning loss.
Gilbertson, Stuessel and Giebel were playing their final weekend of the season for the UW-Stout team and should be back in the Fighting Fish lineup Saturday when they visit the St. Paul Mudhens.
Brandon Gilbertson threw four strong innings Sunday and the Fish trailed 2-1 before the Pioneers pushed eight runs across in the fifth.
"We made a mistake by not getting him out of their early enough, and things really snowballed in the fifth innings," Fish player-manager Josh Eidem said. "A couple walks, a couple kicked balls, and all of a sudden we were down 10 runs."
Eidem scored the only Fish run on a bases-loaded walk to Nathan Brom in the top of the third. The Fish had just five hits in the game, three off the bat of Sam Giliuson, who also walked once to reach base four times. Eidem and Scott Warrington had the only other Fish hits.
"On the positive side, there was hardly a cloud in the sky. We had a nice group of about 25 fans come down for the game, and it felt great to be back on the field," Eidem said.
The Fighting Fish's home opener is scheduled for Saturday, May 16, at 1 p.m. at the high school field against the Menomonie Eagles. It's also the St. Croix Valley League baseball opener for both teams and the first 50 fans in attendance will receive a free Fighting Fish magnet schedule courtesy of Bowen's Garage.