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Raider baseball struggles early

Hudson's Jack Klementz and River Falls' catcher Joey Davis both plead their cases to the umpire after a play at the plate on the back end of a double steal in the top of the third inning Friday, April 27, in River Falls. Klementz was ruled out on the play and the Raiders went on to drop a 13-3 decision to the Wildcats. Bob Burrows / RiverTown Multimedia1 / 2
Hudson catcher Jacob Mathes fields a dribbler in front of home plate and throws out the runner for the final out of the second inning in the Raiders' 13-3 loss at River Falls Friday, April 26. Bob Burrows / RiverTown Multimedia2 / 2

After waiting three weeks to get its season started, the Raider baseball team squeezed four games into five days last week, and head coach Trevor Peck said it was a learning experience.

The Raiders dropped a 10-0 decision at Prescott in its season opener Monday, April 23, before falling to Jordan, Minn., 11-9, in ten innings in their home opener the following day. Thursday, April 26 they fell 8-3 to New Richmond before losing a 13-3 decision Friday, April 27, in their Big Rivers Conference opener at River Falls.

"Yeah, last week was a learning experience for a lot of our guys," Peck said. "This is the first time the majority of our team has competed at the varsity level."

Hudson had the lead in two of their losses, jumping ahead 6-0 after three innings against Jordan and 3-0 in the fourth at River Falls. But Jordan scored seven runs in the top of the fourth before winning in extra innings while River Falls erupted for eight runs in the bottom of the fourth before invoking the 10-run mercy rule in the sixth.

"Our defense has been solid and our bats are starting to come alive as well," Peck noted. "We just need to shore up our pitching and avoid that one 'bad inning.' If we can put together seven complete innings of pitching we'll be alright."

The Raiders put five runs on the board in the second inning against Jordan, highlighted by a two-run double by Max Stubbendick, an RBI triple by Jack Erickson and a run-scoring single by Elijah Rude.

An unearned run in the third extended the Raider lead to 6-0 before Jordan parlayed two hits and seven walks into seven runs in the top of the fourth. Erickson tripled and scored on a fielder's choice in the bottom of the inning and the score remained tied 7-0 until Jordan pushed four runs across in the top of the tenth. The Raiders got a pair back in their half of the inning on a sacrifice fly by Mathes and a double by David Miller, but couldn't get any closer.

Erickson finished with three hits, including two triples, while Johan Becken, Jack Klementz, Ben Gilbert and Erickson all saw action on the mound.

Ryan Rubin went 3-for-4 with a run scored, and Stubbendick and Miller had two hits each against New Richmond, but the Tigers led from the start in an 8-3 win.

Friday at River Falls, Klementz and Erickson each knocked in a run in the top of the third, and Hudson got an unearned run in the fourth. But that's all the scoring they could muster as River Falls scored eight runs in the bottom of the fourth and five more over the next two innings to post a 13-3 win.

The Raiders hosted Menomonie Tuesday, May 1, and will travel to Menomonie Thursday, May 3 before hosting River Falls in a make-up game Friday, May 4, at 5 p.m. at Grandview Park.

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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