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Hudson River Rats drop pair in St. Croix Valley baseball league play

Former Raider and current Hudson River Rats player Ben Christenson doubles to drive in Paul Johnson for the River Rats' first run of the game in the fourth inning of their St. Croix Valley Baseball League matchup at River Falls Saturday. Hudson scored four runs in the fourth inning to tie the score but River Falls went on to a 14-4 victory. Photo by Bob Burrows

The Hudson River Rats slipped to 2-5 in St. Croix Valley Baseball League play over the weekend after losing to defending league champion River Falls, 14-4, last Saturday, June 23 and dropping a 6-2 decision Sunday at St. Croix Falls.

The River Rats will visit the Ellsworth Hubbers this Friday night, June 29 for a 7:30 p.m. contest and travel to Spring Valley to face the Hawks Saturday, June 30 at 7 p.m. They return home to host the Haugen Hornets in a non-league game Sunday at 1 p.m. at Grandview Park.

Last Saturday at River Falls, Ben Christenson ignited a four-run Hudson fourth inning with an RBI double as the River Rats erased a 4-0 Fighting Fish lead. But the River Rats' bats went dormant against Fighting Fish starter and UW-River Falls head football coach Matt Walker from that point on.

Walker retired the River Rats in order in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings, and the Fighting Fish exploded for five runs in the fifth and four more in the sixth before getting an RBI single from Nathan Brom in the bottom of the seventh to end the game, 14-4, by virtue of the ten-run rule.

Brian Sparstad went 5 2/3 innings on the mound and was victimized by a pair of River Rats errors that resulted in six unearned runs for River Falls. Sparstad was lifted for Andy Edholm after giving up a two-run homer to former River Rats catcher Joel Schaffer in the sixth that gave River Falls an 11-4 lead.

Sunday at St. Croix Falls, the Bandits jumped out to a 4-0 first inning lead and scored single runs in the third and fourth innings before the River Rats scored twice in the top of the sixth to make the final 6-2. Hudson had five hits in the game while committing five errors.

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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