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Fish flounder at Red Wing Tourney

Trevor Gutting of the River Falls Fighting Fish drills a leadoff double to start a four-run rally in the top of the seventh inning in the Fish's game against the Coon Rapids Redbirds Saturday at the Red Wing Tournament at Athletic Field. River Falls rallied to cut the Redbirds' lead to 10-5, only to lose in the end, 12-8. Bob Burrows photo

A shorthanded and banged up River Falls Fighting Fish team lost three games in a row for the first time in their history over the weekend at the Red Wing Tournament at Red Wing's Athletic Field.

The Fish lost to the host Red Wing Aces, 7-3, in Friday night's tourney opener before falling to the Coon Rapids Redbirds, 12-8 and the Fairmont Martins, 2-1 on Saturday.

River Falls' overall record slipped to 9-4 but they remain 4-1 and just one game out of first place in the St. Croix Valley Baseball League standings. The Fish will host the Spring Valley Hawks in a pair of league games this Saturday and Sunday at 1 p.m. both days at the high school field.

Last Friday night against the tourney host Aces, the Fish took a 2-0 lead on an RBI single by Nathan Brom in the first and a run-scoring base hit by Josh Halling in the second.

Red Wing scored four runs in the bottom of the third to chase River Falls starter Jack Herum while the Fish's only other run came on a sacrifice fly by Halling in the sixth.

Saturday afternoon against Coon Rapids, Fish starter Ryan Gilbertson was forced to leave the game after two innings due to shoulder soreness with the Redbirds holding a 1-0 lead. Coon Rapids scored seven runs in the third inning off reliever Greg Cheever and led 8-0 before the Fish scored their first run of the game on a sacrifice fly by rookie Bucky Rudesill in the top of the sixth.

River Falls cut the Redbirds' lead to 10-5 with a four-run seventh inning, highlighted by an RBI single by rookie Alex Call and a run-scoring double by Colin Pechacek, but that's as close as they could get in a 12-8 loss.

In Saturday's second game against Fairmont, Trevor Gutting went the distance on the mound, allowing two earned runs on six hits while striking out six and walking none, but the Fish came out on the short end of a 2-1 decision.

River Falls scored its only run in the top of the seventh when Joel Schaffer led off the inning with a double and scored on a base hit by Halling. Call, Brian Giebel and Tyler Hunter had the only other River Falls' hits in the game.

Bob Burrows
Bob Burrows has been sports editor at the River Falls Journal since 1996 and at the Hudson Star-Observer since 2009. Prior to joining the Journal, Burrows served as sports editor with Ledger Publications in Balsam Lake, Wis. A native of Bayonne, N.J. and a U.S. Navy veteran, Burrows attended Marquette University before completing his studies at UW-River Falls in 1992.
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