Wildcats have familiar endingThe Wildcat baseball team defeated New Richmond, 5-3, in a WIAA regional semifinal game last Tuesday in River Falls but had its season some to an end with a 2-0 loss at Hudson in the regional championship game Friday.
By: Bob Burrows, River Falls Journal
The Wildcat baseball team defeated New Richmond, 5-3, in a WIAA regional semifinal game last Tuesday in River Falls but had its season some to an end with a 2-0 loss at Hudson in the regional championship game Friday.
It was the sixth straight year the Cats ended the season with a loss in a regional championship game. They completed this year with a record of 16-12, 3-9 in the Big Rivers Conference.
“Our conference record was, no doubt, disappointing, as we let too many games slip away from us,” head coach Ryan Bishop said. “We really felt we could win every time we stepped on the field, and I believe we proved that throughout the season. But we weren’t quite consistent enough for seven full innings to win those close games.”
The Cats won a close game last Tuesday against New Richmond, thanks to a complete game, five-hit effort by lefty starter Greg Cheever. The senior struck out five and didn’t walk a batter while allowing just two earned runs in the win.
“Greg pitched a gen in his final home game,” Bishop said. “He got ahead of hitters and made them battle from behind all game. Add in some solid defense and good things will happen, like they did tonight.”
River Falls took an early lead with four runs in the second inning, highlighted by a two-run double off the bat of Tyler Hunter and an RBI single by Curtis Christensen.
The Tigers scored a run in the third and two in the fourth to close the gap to 4-3 but an RBI single by Rickey Troester in the fifth extended the Wildcat lead to 5-3 and Cheever shut the Tigers down the rest of the way.
Dylan James had two of the Wildcats’ six hits in the victory while Mark Bennett also drove in a run.
Friday at Hudson, the Raiders scored an unearned run in the third following the only error by either team. Hudson added an insurance run in the fourth on a two-out double by Derek Krumrei to make the final 2-0.
Both teams finished with four hits in the game. Hunter, James, Sam Witt and Trey Peterson had River Falls’ hits, unfortunately they all came in separate innings.
Cheever was tagged with the loss on the mound, allowing one earned run on two hits while striking out two and walking five in 3 2/3 innings on the mound. Jack Herum kept the Raiders off the scoreboard the rest of the way, allowing two hits with two strikeouts and one walk.
“It was a very well played game on both sides, the way a regional championship game should be,” Bishop said. “They took advantage of our one error for their first run, and then a base on balls for the second run. It’s the little things that matter this time of year and they took advantage of the few flaws we had tonight.”
“I thought our hitters battled a very good pitcher pretty well tonight,” Bishop said. “He’s the pitcher of the year in the conference for a reason, and I was proud our guys made him work for the win. We knew we were the underdog in this game. Our goal was to compete our best for seven innings and see what happens. Our guys have nothing to hang their heads about ending a season playing like that.”