Fish all alone in first in SCVBLOne day after hosting a clinic for local youth players, the River Falls Fighting Fish baseball team put on a clinic of its own in a 20-0 victory over the New Richmond Millers.
By: Bob Burrows, River Falls Journal
One day after hosting a clinic for local youth players, the River Falls Fighting Fish baseball team put on a clinic of its own in a 20-0 victory over the New Richmond Millers.
Fighting Fish players worked with about 20 kids the morning of Saturday, June 25 at the high school field before going out and beating the Ellsworth Hubbers, 4-2, that afternoon. Sunday, the team came up an extra-point short of a three touchdown victory over New Richmond to remain undefeated in St. Croix Valley Baseball League play at 6-0 and move into sole possession of first place.
“We're obviously happy with our 6-0 start and having a lot of fun at the ballpark, but our guys have their eyes on the prize, so to speak, and know it's a long season,” Fish player-manager Josh Eidem said. “Winning the league would be great, but our main goal is to be playing really good baseball heading into the WBA playoffs in August.”
The Fish will hit the midpoint of their SCVBL schedule this week after a pair of games, Friday at New Richmond and Sunday at home against the Hudson River Rats. In between they will host Pine Island, Minn., in a nonleague game Saturday at 1 p.m.
Last weekend the Fish received a pair of stellar pitching performances from Dan Morgan and Matt Walker to improve to 6-0 in league play. Morgan struck out 10 through seven innings to earn the win Saturday while Walker struck out nine and posted a seven-inning complete-game shutout in his first start of the season Sunday against the Millers.
“We've been winning with pitching all year, and this weekend was no exception,” Eidem said. “We got great starts from Morgan and Walker, including a shutout from Walker in his first start for the Fish. We struggled a little bit at the plate on Saturday, but we did hit a lot of balls hard that were caught. It was great to see those bats explode on Sunday, though.”
Joel Schaffer hit a pair of home runs Saturday against Ellsworth, including a two-run, tape-measure shot in the fifth inning that proved to be the margin of victory.
Morgan was cruising along until the seventh, when the Hubbers cut the Fish lead to 4-2, but Ryan Gilbertson came on to shut the door and earn the save, striking out two and allowing just one hit over the final 1 2/3 innings. Gilbertson also had an RBI single to help the team’s cause at the plate.
Sunday against New Richmond, Schaffer had seven RBI with two doubles, a single and a bases-loaded walk, and the Fish scored 12 runs in the third inning on their way to a 20-0 victory.
Brian Giebel had two hits, including a double, and drove in three runs, and Nate Schurman and Brandon Gilbertson each had a pair of RBI while Ryan Gilbertson had three hits and scored four runs.
Walker scattered five hits and didn’t walk a batter to earn the complete-game victory, which was cut short due to the mercy rule after seven innings.
Eidem said the Fish shouldn’t let the 20-0 victory go to their heads, especially with having to face the Millers again on their home field Friday night.
“We'll have to play well at New Richmond on Friday,” he said. “They'll be ready for revenge after the lopsided game on Sunday, and there are no automatic wins in the SCVBL.”