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Fighting Fish keep 'em guessing

One week after losing to South Division cellar-dweller Hager City, the River Falls Fighting Fish bounced back to score a come-from-behind, 11-10, victory over South Division leader Prescott Saturday afternoon in Prescott.

The victory kept the Fish within striking distance of first place Hudson in the North Division of the St. Croix Valley Baseball League with a mark of 7-4 (12-10 overall). Hudson is alone in first place at 9-3 (14-8 overall).

This week the Fish travel to division rival Osceola (6-4, 9-8) Wednesday night and host the South Division's Elmwood Expos (4-9, 5-15) Saturday before a nonleague game against the St. Paul Mudhens Sunday.

After leading 2-1 for most of the game Saturday at Prescott, the Fighting Fish found themselves trailing 9-2 after six, despite the effort of starting pitcher Dan Morgan.

"It was probably one of the best nine earned run performances a guy can have," Fish player-manager Josh Eidem said. "A lot of the ball that Prescott hit hard were actually in pretty good locations; that's just how good of a hitting team they have."

Trevor Gutting, who has spent most of his time behind the plate this season, came on in relief for Morgan in the seventh and recorded the final out.

River Falls then scored eight runs in the top of the eighth to take a 10-9 lead. Eidem hit into a fielder's score to score Sam Giliuson with the first run of the inning before Nathan Brom, Brian Giebel and Ryan Gilbertson all singled to load the bases. A walk to Joe Paatalo forced in Brom and back-to-back singles by Scott Warrington and Gutting pulled the Fish to within two, 9-7.

After Clint Kempf was hit by a pitch to lead the bases again, Giliuson stepped to the plate for the second time in the inning and doubled into the left fields corner, clearing the bases and giving River Falls a 10-9 lead.

"We've been saying all year that it would be nice to bunch some hits up for once, and it finally happened," Eidem said about the Fish's eight-run eighth.

Prescott pushed a run across in its half of the eighth to tie the score, but four straight walks in the top of the ninth to Gilbertson, Paatalo, Warrington and Gutting resulted in a run and an 11-10 Fish lead.

Gilbertson came on to relieve Gutting in the ninth and allowed one hit but struck out Billon Powell to end the game.

Giliuson was 4-for-4 with a double and three RBI in the win. The veteran second baseman is having one of the best years of his six-year SCVBL career with a batting average of over .400.

Gutting was credited with the win, allowing one earned run on two hits in 2 1/3 innings of work.

Saturday's home game against Elmwood is the Fish's annual Youth Clinic and Hamster Races. The team will host a youth clinic beginning at 10 a.m. and host hamster races as a highlight of its 1 p.m. game.

Sunday's 1 p.m. contest against St. Paul is "Give a Man a Fish Day," sponsored by Johnnie's Bar. Fans are encouraged to bring canned or dry goods for the River Falls Food Pantry.