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River Rats blanked in finale

Hudson starter Brian Sparstad delivers a pitch during the third inning of the River Rats' 10-0 loss to the Prescott Pirates last Saturday in Prescott. Sparstad allowed eight runs in 4 2/3 innings, though only two were earned. Photo by Jace Frederick

Two Hudson errors led to five unearned runs in the second inning for Prescott as the Pirates rolled to a 10-0, eight-inning win over the River Rats in the St. Croix Valley Baseball League finale for both teams last Saturday in Prescott.

The loss ended the River Rats season with a record of 6-9, tied with Elmwood for second place in the Eau Galle Division of the SCVBL behind overall champion River Falls. St. Croix Division champion Prescott improved to 14-2 and will join five other SCVBL teams when the Wisconsin Baseball Association playoffs get underway Aug. 10.

All five of Prescott's second-inning runs Saturday came with two outs by virtue of five hits, two Hudson errors and a walk.

Hudson's best scoring opportunity came in the fifth inning. Trailing 5-0 with runners on second and third with no outs, Derek Krumrei flied out to right field and Mitch Lewis was thrown out trying to score from third for a double play. Paul Johnson grounded out to short to end the inning.

Prescott ended the game by virtue of the ten-run rule on a one-out RBI single in the bottom of the eighth.

River Rats starter Brian Sparstad was tagged four eight run in 4 2/3 innings, although just two were earned. Sparstad allowed nine hits with one walk and one strikeout before being replaced by lefty Aaron Frei, who allowed just one hit but walked a batter and hit two batters over the final 2 2/3 innings.

Hudson first baseman Mike Weiss was the only River Rat with more than one hit, collecting two singles in the loss. Hudson was held to six hits by Prescott hurler Nick Johnson.

Prescott will join River Falls (14-1), Red Cedar Division champion Osceola (11-4), Menomonie (11-4), Ellsworth (10-6) and New Richmond (8-7) as SCVBL representatives in the opening round of the WBA playoffs Aug. 10-12. First round sites include Osceola, Hayward, Haugen and Rib Lake with the finals scheduled for Aug. 17-19 in Osseo.

Playoff pairings will be announced Wednesday, Aug. 1.

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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