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Skeeters sting Fish

River Falls' Ryan Gilbertson slides under the tag of Pine Island (Minn.) pitcher Luke Yusten to give the Fighting Fish a 3-1 lead on Salute to Armed Forces Day Sunday in River Falls. Pinch runner Chris Wacker would score on another passed ball in the sixth inning to help the Fish to a 4-2 victory. Bob Burrows photo

The River Falls Fighting Fish are making a habit out of beating teams they perhaps shouldn't, and losing to teams they feel they should.

The Fish picked up a pair of non-league wins last week over Minnesota teams from Northfield and Pine Island. But neither win could soothe the sting of Saturday's 8-7 St. Croix Valley Baseball League loss at Hager City.

The loss left the Fish with a record of 6-4 in SCVBL play with six games remaining in their league schedule. The team needs to at least split those final six games in order to qualify to the WBA playoffs for the second straight season.

This week the Fish will play an exhibition game against the River Falls American Legion team Thursday at 6 p.m. in the second annual Battle of the Bats before returning to SCVBL action Saturday at South Division leader Prescott (9-1). Wednesday, July 15, they travel to North Division leader Osceola (5-2) before hosting the Elmwood Expos (3-8) Saturday, July 18, at 1 p.m. Sunday, July 19, they host the St. Paul Mudhens in a non-league contest.

Saturday at Hager City, the Fish outhit the Skeeters 13-6 but Hager City made a four-run sixth inning stand up and picked up just their second SCVBL win of the season, 8-7.

Josh Eidem, Nathan Brom and Brian Giebel all had two hits and an RBI and Ryan Gilbertson and Dan Morgan each drove in a run, but the Fish came up one run short.

Dan Morgan walked seven batters over the first four innings and ended up with the loss. Morgan allowed four earned runs on three hits while striking out three. Seth Bugar went an inning-and-a-third and allowed three runs on three hits with one walk and no strikeouts.

Last Wednesday at Northfield, Minn., Giebel went 3-for-5 with a triple, home run and six RBI but River Falls needed a seven-run ninth inning to escape with a 13-8 win.

Justin Peterson also drove in a pair of runs and picked up the win on the mound with 2 1/3 innings of relief. Peterson, the Fish's third pitcher of the game, allowed two earned runs on three hits with three walks and no strikeouts.

Sunday at home against Pine Island, Minn., Brandon Gilbertson went the distance to pick up his first win of the season and the Fish took advantage of two passed balls to provide the margin of victory in a 4-2 win.

Gilbertson allowed two earned runs on six hits while striking out four and walking three in the complete game win. Joe Paatalo had a hit and an RBI and Dan Morgan drove in a run while no Fish player had more than one hit.

River Falls improved to 11-10 overall.