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Fish drop marathon at Osceola

The River Falls Fighting Fish suffered their second St. Croix Valley Baseball League loss last Wednesday night when they came out on the short end of a marathon 3-2, 13-inning decision to the Osceola Braves at Osceola's Oakey Park.

River Falls regained its winning ways and improved to 12-6 overall with a 7-2 non-league victory over the Minneapolis Angels Saturday at the high school field.

The Fish are off this week before the SCVBL All-Star Game Friday night, July, 5 in New Richmond. Clint Kempf, Joel Schaffer, Matt Walker and Rick Wells will represent River Falls in the amateur summer classic.

Last Wednesday at Osceola, Wells pitched 11 innings before leaving after throwing 146 pitches with the score tied, 2-2. Osceola scored the game-winning run with two outs in the bottom of the 13th inning off Brian Giebel, the Fish's third pitcher of the game.

The game was scoreless until Osceola took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the seventh. The Fish struck twice in the top of the eighth when Nathan Brom singled, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Adam Stuessel and scored on a single by Alex Call.

Marty Herum, in his first game of the season with the Fish after starting the year with the Lakeshore Chinooks of the Northwoods League, followed with a single to send Call to third, and after a walk by Andy King loaded the bases Call scored on a passed ball to give the Fish a 2-1 lead.

Osceola tied it with a run in the bottom of the eighth. The Fish threatened in the top of the tenth when Call and Herum hit back-to-back, two-out singles but King struck out to end the inning.

Wells left after 11 and Josh Eidem retired the Braves in order in the bottom of the 12th before Osceola scored the winning run off Giebel with two outs in the bottom of the 13th.

Wells allowed just five hits and two earned runs while striking out seven and walking six in 11 innings of work.

Call and Herum both went 3-for-6 at the plate while Kempf singled twice and Giebel had a double. The loss leaves the Fish with a record of 6-2 in SCVBL play.

Saturday at home against the Minneapolis Angels, Trevor Gutting threw a complete-game, five-hitter and River Falls scored all seven of its runs in the bottom of the seventh in a 7-2 nonleague victory.

Gutting allowed just two Angels as far as second base until yielding a leadoff single in the top of the sixth. Two errors sandwiched around a walk led to a pair of Angel runs and a 2-0 Minneapolis lead.

The Fish sent 10 batters to the plate in the bottom of the seventh on their way to scoring seven runs to put the game out of reach.

Giebel doubled in a pair of runs to tie the score and Herum had an RBI single while King drew a bases-loaded walk to force in a run and Brom followed with a single to plate two more. Tyler Hunter, who was hit by a pitch and scored to lead off the inning, drove in the final run with a sacrifice fly to center.

Herum had two hits, including a double, and Kyle Westhuis had two hits and a run scored while Brom and Giebel drove in a pair of runs each.

Gutting allowed just one base runner in the final two innings to preserve the victory. He finished with six strikeouts and four walks while allowing just one earned run.

The Fighting Fish will play a non-league game at home against the Isanti Redbirds this Sunday, July 7, for Coach's Bar and Grill Salute to Armed Forces Day. They return to SCVBL play with three road games -- Wednesday, July 10, at the New Richmond Millers, Saturday, July 13 at the Elmwood Expos, and Sunday, July 14, at the St. Croix Falls Bandits. They visit iconic Jack Ruhr Field in Miesville, Minn. to face the Miesville Mudhens Tuesday night, July 16, before hosting the Hudson River Rats Saturday, July 20, at 1 p.m.

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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