Fish fly into firstFighting Fish players Trevor Gutting, left, Josh Eidem and Clint Kempf, right, congratulate teammate Brian Giebel (24) after Giebel hit his second home run of the game Saturday, July 16, against the St. Paul Mudhens. The Fighting Fish posted an 8-2 victory in the non-league game, which came in between a pair of St. Croix Valley Baseball League wins that gave the Fish sole possession of first place. Bob Burrows photo
By: Bob Burrows, River Falls Journal
It’s a good thing the River Falls Fighting Fish have a deep bench.
Playing in stifling heat and humidity the afternoon of Sunday, July 17 at home against the Elmwood Expos, former Wildcat Marty Herum was the only Fish to last the entire game. Lucky for him, the Fish closed out the Expos 14-0 in seven innings to take over sole possession of first place in the St. Croix Valley Baseball League standings.
“Our guys did a great job battling the heat exhaustion today,” Fish player-manager Josh Eidem said. “It's such an advantage to have such a deep bench. We've got literally 15 position players who I know could start on other teams in the SCVBL. I can't give enough credit to those guys who are ready to step into the game at any point, like Adam Brathol did on Sunday, going into left field when Joel Schaffer was feeling the heat.”
Thirteen different players had at-bats in the win while pitchers Rick Wells and Dan Morgan combined on a four-hit shutout.
Herum, who just completed his freshman year at UW-Whitewater, led the Fish at the plate by going 4-for-5 with an RBI double and three runs scored. Ryan Gilbertson added two hits, including a double, and two RBI while veteran Joe Paatalo had two hits and an RBI.
Last Wednesday at Hager City, Paatalo had three hits and drove in a pair of runs while pitcher Matt Walker struck out 10 and allowed just three hits in a 13-1 Fighting Fish victory over the Skeeters.
Herum also had three hits, including a double, and drove in a run while Nathan Brom contributed three singles in the win.
The Fish took on the St. Paul Mudhens in a nonleague game Saturday and posted an 8-2 victory behind a pair of two-run home runs by Brian Giebel. Giebel was 3-for-4 with four RBI and four runs scored while Clint Kempf added three hits, including a double, and a run scored.
Nate Schurman pitched five innings of shutout ball to earn the win on the mound while Justin Peterson and Morgan also saw action.
Last week’s two SCVBL wins, coupled with Sunday’s loss by the Menomonie Eagles to the St. Croix Falls Bandits, moved the Fish into sole possession of first place with a record of 10-1. Menomonie is in second at 8-2. The two teams square off Wednesday night in Menomonie in what Eidem said will be an “epic battle.”
“Menomonie will be hungry for a win and looking to even back up with us on Wednesday, so it should be an epic battle,” he said. “We're going to start Matt Walker on the mound, and they haven't seen him, so I really like Matty's chances. Our strength this summer, as usual, has been our pitching, while Menomonie's strength is their offense. We'll be hoping good pitching beats good hitting on Wednesday night.”
The Fish will be home for a pair of SCVBL games this weekend when they host the Osceola Braves (5-7) Saturday, July 23, and the Plum City Blues (5-7) Sunday, July 24 at 1 p.m. both days.
Saturday’s game is Johnnie’s Bar Fish Fry Day with free fish to the first 60 fans in attendance. Sunday is Cleveland Chiropractic Stress-Free Sunday.