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Prescott clinches another SCVL south title

PRESCOTT - Amateur baseball teams all go through cycles where older players eventually retire and younger players struggle to replace them.

It's a period of transition. Some teams make it smoothly. Others do not.

Yet the Prescott Pirates have not only been successful in passing through transition quickly and painlessly as possible, but in establishing themselves as one of the top amateur baseball teams in the areas on both sides of the river.

The Pirates won another St. Croix Valley League South Division title Sunday as they swept Elmwood in a doubleheader at Firehall Field 6-3 and 6-4.

Once again the Pirates have wrapped up a league title early with strong play on their part and losses by their opponents. A pair of Ellsworth defeats over the weekend and a loss by Bay City against St. Croix Falls helped the Pirates to clinch at least a tie even if the Pirates lose their three final league games.

Besides winning against Wisconsin teams, Prescott has also beaten Red Wing, Northfield, Burnsville and the Stockman's Irish team of South St. Paul, Minnesota. The Pirates have a 15-6 overall record.

"Well three years back we went through a transition where many of the original players retired and we struggled with some of the new players," Prescott player-manager Brady Randolph commented. "Along with the younger players getting older and the addition of Nick Johnson, Jon Holt and Mike Labarbera, we have three solid starting pitchers to go along with a nice hitting lineup."

Prescott bounced back from a 1-0 loss at Menomonie Friday to sweep the Expos Sunday.

Randolph hit a three-run homer in game which, added with an RBI-double by Johnson and eight solid innings pitched by Josh Tri, led to victory. Eric Konsela hit a two-RBI double to knot it up at 3-3 but Prescott scored three more to finish off the Expos. Perry Schmit and Kyle McGee were the losing pitchers.

The Pirates made it all the way to the Wisconsin Baseball Association (WBA) state championship game last year, finishing second. They've punched their ticket for another shot at a WBA championship and will also be joined by Menomonie and Hudson, who are battling for the North Division crown.

After these teams the playoff picture focuses on several teams between five and seven losses who at least have a chance at a playoff bid if they finish the final two weeks of the regular season with wins: River Falls, Ellsworth, Bay City, and New Richmond

After the top three teams, only Osceola is assured a spot now due to their hosting one of the semi-final sites. River Falls, Ellsworth, Bay City, and New Richmond could all make the playoffs. River Falls, with only Plum City left, needs to win to finish 8-7. Ellsworth, with four games left, and Bay City, with three games left, still have a good chance of finishing above .500. New Richmond, with four games left, needs to win its last four games of the year, against Hudson, St. Croix Falls, Menomonie, and Prescott.

According to league statistician Chris LaBreche, the league stands a good chance of qualifying at least six teams into the playoffs if two of the aforementioned squads can finish above .500.