Fish splitIt all comes down to Sunday. The River Falls Fighting Fish need to defeat Plum City while the Bay City Bombers need to lose to Hudson on the final weekend of St. Croix Valley Baseball League play.
By: Bob Burrows, River Falls Journal
It all comes down to Sunday.
The River Falls Fighting Fish need to defeat Plum City while the Bay City Bombers need to lose to Hudson on the final weekend of St. Croix Valley Baseball League play.
Bay City helped its cause by defeating Plum City last week to move to 7-6 in league play while the Fish split a pair of non-league games to remain at 7-7 in the SCVBL, 18-14 overall. Historically, the top five teams in the 11-team SCVBL earn playoff berths. Bay City is currently fourth, one-half game ahead of River Falls.
The fly in the ointment is that Osceola, at 6-7, is guaranteed a spot because it is hosting the regional tournament. River Falls holds the tiebreaker over Bay City, meaning a win Sunday and a Bay City loss should get the Fish in.
“There is still a chance that both of us could win and get in,” Fish player-manager Josh Eidem said. “But the odds aren’t as good for us to get a bid. With Osceola taking up a bid, unfairly or not considering we beat them twice, that’s the system that’s been in place for a long time. Either way, we just have to win Sunday at Plum City for a playoff chance.”
The Fish stayed four games above .500 overall by splitting a pair of games Sunday against a pair of Mississippi Valley League foes. River Falls dropped a 3-0 decision to the 2006 WBA state champion La Crescent Cardinals before defeating the La Crosse Athletics, a 2007 regional champion, 7-3 in 12 innings.
“It seemed like we worked our way through the hitting woes at the start of the weekend and things started to come around later in the game against La Crosse Sunday,” Eidem said. “La Crescent and La Crosse are two teams with a history of winning along with good records this year. So once again we showed that we can play with the top.”
After getting shutout against La Crescent, the Fish and Athletics were tied 2-2 heading into the ninth inning before the Fish pushed a run across in the top of the inning to take a 3-2 lead. But La Crosse answered with a run in the bottom of the ninth to send the game into extra innings. River Falls scored four runs in the top of the 12th and Eidem retired the side in order in the bottom of the inning to earn the win.
Trevor Gutting worked the first eight innings on the mound and allowed two earned runs on six hits while striking out five and walking five. Eidem went the rest of the way and struck out four without a walk to earn the win.
Ryan Gilbertson was 4-for-6 at the plate for River Falls while Sam Giliuson was 3-for-6 with three runs scored and Clint Kempf had two hits, including a double, and scored two runs.
This week the Fish will take the field for an exhibition game against the River Falls American Legion team Wednesday at 6 p.m. for “The Battle of River Falls.” Saturday they will face the Hager City Skeeters at 1:05 p.m. in the final home game of the season on Fan Appreciation Day, sponsored by Kilkarney Hills Golf Club. The team will raffle off hats and t-shirts throughout the game and hold contests on the field between innings, including a chipping contest, dizzy golf club race and more.
Sunday’s SCVBL showdown at Plum City will also begin at 1:05 p.m.