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Fish all alone atop St. Croix Valley League

River Falls Fighting Fish pitcher James Witt winds and delivers the first pitch of the 2016 St. Croix Valley Baseball League All-Star Game Friday night at First National Bank of River Falls Field. Witt started for the Eau Galle Division team and pitched four innings before taking a no-decision in the St. Croix Division's 14-5 victory. (River Falls Journal photo by Bob Burrows)

The River Falls Fighting Fish maintained their two-game lead atop the Eau Galle Division standings and moved into sole possession of first place overall in the St. Croix Valley Baseball League standings with a 5-1 road victory over the Ellsworth Hubbers Wednesday night, June 29, and a 10-4 win over the Elmwood Expos in a 4th of July matinee at First National Bank of River Falls Field.

The pair of wins give the Fish a league record of 9-1 while upping their overall mark to 17-8. They'll play their next nine games at home, beginning with a nonleague game against the Red Wing Aces Wednesday night, July 6, at 7:30 p.m.

Last Wednesday at Ellsworth, James Georgakas allowed one run in seven innings and Clint Kempf, Adam Stuessel and Brian Grove all went deep in a 5-1 win over the Hubbers.

Kempf finished 4-for-5 at the plate while Grove and Joel Schaffer had two hits each.

Monday's matchup against Elmwood featured the top two teams in the SCVBL standings but the Fish pounded out 20 hits to hand the Expos their second league loss of the season, 10-4.

Kempf continued his torrid hitting with another 4-for-5 day, driving in three runs and scoring twice. Colin Pechacek had three hits, including a pair of doubles, and drove in three runs and Kyle Westhuis had three hits and scored three runs while Schaffer and Brian Giebel had two hits apiece. Giebel had a solo homer in the seventh inning to increase his franchise leading career total to 35.

Kyle Duex picked up the victory on the mound, allowing three earned runs on nine hits with four strikeouts and four walks in seven innings of work. Matt Doornink struck out four while holding the Expos scoreless over the final two innings.

Following Wednesday night's game against Red Win the Fish will host three more nonleague games this weekend-- Friday, July 8 at 7:30 p.m. against the Minneapolis River Rats, Saturday, July 9 at 7 p.m. against the Minneapolis Angels, and Sunday, July 10 at 6 p.m. against the Isanti Redbirds. They return to SCVBL action with a chance to clinch a berth in the Wisconsin Baseball Association playoffs against the Spring Valley Hawks Wednesday, July 13, at 7:30 p.m. at First National Bank of River Falls Field.

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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