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Ashley Thelen rounded second base and sprinted for third base for a triple during Park Rapids' Mid-State Conference doubleheader against Staples-Motley Tuesday.

Panthers rally, earn split with Cardinals

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Park Rapids Minnesota PO Box 111 56470

After seeing Staples-Motley rally for a 17-16 win in the opener, the Park Rapids fastpitch softball team rallied for a 6-4 win in the second game to split a Mid-State Conference doubleheader Tuesday.

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This game was scheduled to be played at Staples, but wet field conditions moved the game to Park Rapids, which was the visiting team despite playing at home.

In the first game, the Panthers carried a 16-11 lead into the bottom of the seventh inning before the Cardinals scored six times to rally for the win.

The Panthers jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning on Ashley Domino's two-run triple and a passed ball.

A lead-off triple by Ashley Thelen, a sacrifice fly by Alyssa Carlson, a single by Domino, an RBI double by Olivia Vaadeland and an error gave the Panthers a 6-2 lead in the fourth.

After Staples-Motley scored five times in the bottom of the inning to take a 7-6 lead, the Panthers regained the lead with a eight-run third inning. Singles by Lauren Naeve, Lexi Burlingame and Thelen set up a two-run single by Carlson, a two-run double by Domino, a two-run triple by Bailee Jerger and an RBI single by McKenna Brand.

The Cardinals responded by scoring four times in the bottom of that inning to close the gap to 14-11.

A double by Domino, a single by Vaadeland, a sacrifice fly by Jerger and a run-scoring grounder by Brand gave the Panthers a 16-11 lead in the sixth before the Cardinals used five hits and three errors to rally for the win in the seventh.

The Panthers pounded out 18 hits with Domino going 4 for 5 with four runs and four RBI, Vaadeland going 4 for 5, Thelen going 3 for 4, Carlson going 2 for 4 with three RBI and Brand going 2 for 3 with two RBI.

Jerger took the loss in relief, allowing 10 runs on six hits and nine walks in 3 1/3 innings. Vaadeland started and gave up seven runs on six hits and four walks over the first three innings.

Staples-Motley carried that momentum over into the second game by scoring four times in the first inning to claim the early lead.

But Jerger shut down the Cardinals the rest of the game as Park Rapids rallied for the win.

Carlson singled and scored on Vaadeland's grounder in the first, Anna Grimes singled and scored on Naeve's single in the second, and Domino singled and scored on Jerger's single in the fifth to close the gap to 4-3.

Grimes led off the sixth with a single, Katie Just reached on a grounder and Naeve reached on an error as the Panthers tied the game. Carlson's sacrifice fly brought in the game-winning run and Thelen followed with another sacrifice fly to conclude the scoring.

Carlson went 3 for 5, Grimes went 3 for 4 with two runs, Domino went 2 for 3 and Naeve drove in two runs to lead the Panthers' 12-hit attack. Jerger earned the win, allowing four runs on six hits and five walks in a complete-game effort.

"I was excited about how well we hit," said Park Rapids head coach Marion Goeden. "We need work on defense, but it will come. Our defense toughened up after the first inning in the second game."

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