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River Rats split final two games

Hudson second baseman Chris Dent records a putout at first base while covering on a bunt attempt in the River Rats 10-0 loss to the New Richmond Millers Saturday night in New Richmond. (New Richmond News photos by Dave Newman)1 / 2
Hudson starting pitcher Austin Booher fires a pitch to the plate last Saturday night in New Richmond. Booher held the Milers to four runs over six innings before leaving the game after catching a line drive in the ankle.2 / 2

The Hudson River Rats split their final two St. Croix Valley baseball League games of the season over the weekend, falling to New Richmond, 10-0, Saturday night in New Richmond before bouncing back with a 12-1 victory Sunday in Elmwood.

The split leaves Hudson with a final SCVBL record of 10-5 heading into next week's Wisconsin Baseball Association playoffs. The WBA semifinal round is set for Aug. 9-11 with 32 teams competing in 8-team brackets at Altoona, Coon Valley, Osceola and Rib Lake. The state finals will be played Aug. 16-18 in Osceola. Pairings and sites will be announced Wednesday, July 31.

Last Saturday night the River Rats fielded what player-manager Jason Hollar described as a "patchwork" lineup against New Richmond ace Hayden Zimmerman and were unable to generate any runs against the former All-MIAC college player from St. John's.

Austin Booher started on the mound for Hudson but was forced to leave the game after taking a line drive off his ankle in the sixth inning with the River Rats trailing 4-0.

"After Austin left the game we had trouble keeping New Richmond off the board and they put up six more runs to finish the game," Hollar noted.

Hudson managed just six hits in the game, highlighted by a pair of singles each by Andy Edholm and Derek Krumrei.

Hudson doubled their hit total Sunday at Elmwood, and received an 11-strikeout effort from pitcher Paul Johnson to dispose of the Expos, 12-1, in seven innings. Johnson allowed six hits and didn't walk a batter while helping himself at the plate with a 3-for-4, two RBI day.

"Paul looked fantastic on Sunday, turning in another strong outing in which he was able to control the tempo of the game," Hollar said. "Paul is on one of those streaks where he is pitching so well that he makes the game of baseball look easy. Pair that with the offense we got today and I feel confident we can take this momentum deep into the playoffs."

Brent Blegen went 3-for-3 with a home run and three RBI in the victory and Edholm had three hits, including a double, walked once and scored four times while Booher singled, doubled and drove in four runs.

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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