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Fish stay perfect in SCVBL

Bob Burrows photo Fighting Fish first baseman Matt Walker holds up his glove after recording the final out of the game on a close play at first in the Fish's 6-4 win over the Eau Claire Bears Saturday at the high school field.

The River Falls Fighting Fish stayed perfect in St. Croix Valley Baseball League play with a 4-3, extra-inning win on the road at Osceola last Wednesday night before improving to 8-3 overall with a 6-4 nonleague victory over the Eau Claire Bears Saturday.

The Fish hit the road for five straight games, beginning with a SCVBL contest at Menomonie Wednesday, June 15, before returning home to host the Ellsworth Hubbers on Saturday, June 25, at 1 p.m. at the high school field.

Last Wednesday at Osceola, the Fish trailed 1-0 in the top of the ninth when catcher Joel Schaffer hit a two-run bomb to give them a 2-1 lead.

Osceola scratched out a run in the bottom of the inning to tie the score but the Fish struck back with a pair of runs in the top of the 10th to take a 4-2 lead.

Josh Eidem led off the inning with a walk and pinch-runner Adam Brathol was sacrificed to second by Sam Giliuson. After the second out of the inning Brian Giebel doubled home Brathol and Giebel scored on a base hit by Nathan Brom to give River Falls a two-run lead.

That second run loomed large as Osceola got another run in the bottom of the 10th, but reliever Matt Walker worked out of a bases-loaded, no-out jam to seal the win for the Fish.

Schaffer and Brom each had two hits in the win while Giebel and Marty Herum had the only other hits for River Falls, who improved to 2-0 in SCVBL play.

Rick Wells started on the mound for the Fish and was solid through eight-plus innings, allowing two earned runs on eight hits while striking out seven and walking one. Walker picked up the win in relief, throwing two innings and allowing one earned run on four hits with four strikeouts and no walks.

Saturday against Eau Claire, Herum had three hits, including a triple, and scored three runs and Schaffer drove in a pair of runs in a 6-4 win over the Bears.

Eidem threw over 120 pitches before leaving with two outs and the tying run on first in the ninth. Trevor Gutting came in and got the final out when the Bears' cleanup hitter hit a hard shot to first that Walker got in front of. The ball bounced into foul territory where Gutting raced to pick it up and flip it to Walker for the final out and seal the win.

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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