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River Rats drop two games to top SCVBL teams

Mitch Lewis tags a Spring Valley runner in the River Rats' 9-2 loss to Spring Valley on Saturday. Katie Davidson / RiverTown Multimedia1 / 2
Dave Williams pitched for the River Rats in the seventh inning of their 11-3 loss to the undefeated Prescott Pirates on Sunday afternoon at Grandview Park. Katie Davidson / RiverTown Multimedia2 / 2

The River Rats had a difficult weekend in SCVBL play, losing to the top teams in each division without many of their usual players available. Hudson fell to North Division leader Spring Valley, 8-2, on Saturday and South Division leader Prescott, 11-3, on Sunday afternoon.

The game against Spring Valley was close until the seventh inning, but the Hawks rallied for five runs to take the win, 8-2. Dennis Reinhardt gave up five earned runs in the inning, walking four straight batters before allowing two hits. Sam Chase came in to finish the final two innings, allowing only two hits and striking out four.

"We wasted a solid starting performance by Paul Johnson, who threw six innings, allowing seven hits, one walk, two earned runs and striking out 10 Hawks' batters," manager Chris LaBreche said.

Errors cost the River Rats in the opening innings, as a throwing error by Will Jilek allowed the Hawks to get their first run on the board in the second inning. Another infield error on a throw to home gave Spring Valley their third run. LaBreche said they were able to hold most of the Hawks' hitters in check like the previous week in River Falls, but allowed Casey Ryan and Dylan Willett to each collect three hits and score two runs.

Brady Gunderson had one of the few bright spots of the day for the River Rats by hitting a solo home run, as Hudson only accounted for six hits.

The top-notch competition continued on Sunday, with the undefeated Prescott Pirates traveling to Grandview Park to take on the River Rats. The Brookshaw brothers, hitting 1-3 in the Pirates lineup, paced the way for Prescott going a combined 6-for-13 at the plate with six runs scored. Pirates' pitcher Connor Cress also impressed by providing a complete game, allowing seven hits, three runs and three walks on 11 strikeouts.

LaBreche said he knew these would be tough games on the schedule, which was made even more difficult with almost half of the usual starters being on vacation or unavailable.

"I'm pleased with the effort we put in, but Spring Valley and Prescott simply beat us and played much better than we did; no real shame in that," LaBreche said.

Paul Johnson provided two of the seven hits for Hudson, who failed to score a run until the fifth inning. Sam Glade had a tough day on the mound facing a dominant Prescott team, allowing six runs and eight hits in six innings.

"We have one game against New Richmond at home next weekend, so we shall see how we rebound," LaBreche said. "July always determines who makes the playoffs and

who spends the rest of the summer on vacation."

Hudson now sits at fourth in the SCVBL North Division with a 6-5 record. The River Rats will need to finish with at least nine league wins to gain qualification for the WBA Playoffs in August. They will try to get back on track against the New Richmond Millers at 1 p.m. Sunday at Grandview Park.

Zach Dwyer

Zach Dwyer is a senior journalism student at UW-River Falls. He is an intern reporter for RiverTown Multimedia during the summer of 2018 covering features and sports. He was previously a news intern in the summer of 2017 for the Red Wing Republican Eagle. 

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