Panthers split with Cardinals, sweep Patriots in conference doubleheaders
Scoring 39 runs helped the Park Rapids fastpitch softball team close out the Mid-State Conference season with three wins in four games.
The Panthers split a doubleheader with Staples-Motley Monday at the Area High School field and swept a doubleheader at Pequot Lakes Tuesday to end conference play with a 9-3 record.
Park Rapids, which carried a 15-4 overall record into the regular-season finale against Sebeka Friday, will open the Section 8AA playoffs at home Tuesday afternoon.
Panthers, Cardinals split
After dropping a 9-1 decision in the first game, Staples-Motley capitalized on 10 Park Rapids errors to win the second game 9-6.
In the first game, Shelby Weckwerth's RBI single in the first and Leeza Tostenson's RBI double in the third led to a 2-0 lead.
Alyssa Carlson's two-run double sparked a four-run fourth, Carlson's RBI single led to another run in the fifth and Tostenson's double led to the final run in the sixth.
Carlson went 2 for 3 with three RBI, Carson Lee Christenson went 2 for 3, Tostenson went 3 for 4 and Brie Warne went 2 for 4 to pace Park Rapids' 11-hit attack. Warne went the distance, allowing five hits and one run.
In the second game, the Cardinals scored five times in the sixth to salvage the split.
Carlson had an RBI single in the first and Tostenson and Weckwerth had RBI singles in the seventh as the Panthers were held to only four hits in the game. Warne took the loss, allowing 12 hits and eight runs.
The split gave S-M a 2-6 record in the conference and 5-10 overall mark.
Panthers sweep Patriots
Park Rapids took advantage of three errors to score the winning runs in the eighth inning in a 7-5 win in the first game and used a season-high 21 hits for a 17-8 victory in the second game and a sweep at Pequot Lakes.
Vaadeland's RBI double in the third and RBI singles by Christenson and Vaadeland in the fifth gave the Panthers a 4-0 lead in the first game.
After the Patriots used six hits to take a 5-4 lead in the bottom of the inning, Jenny Palm's RBI double tied the game in the sixth. Three consecutive errors gave the Panthers the win in the eighth.
Christenson and Vaadeland had two hits each for the Panthers. Vaadeland picked up the win with three hitless innings in relief of Warne.
In the second game, Christenson went 5 for 5 with four runs, Vaadeland went 3 for 5 with four RBI, Weckwerth went 4 for 5 with four runs, and Taylor Ondracek and Lizzy Vaudrin combined for four hits and five RBI to power the Panthers' offense.
Weckwerth's two-run single and Ondracek's RBI triple were the key hits during a four-run first while two-run singles by Ondracek and Christenson sparked a five-run third. Vaudrin's RBI single was the key hit in a two-run fourth while Vaadeland's two-run triple and Vaudrin's RBI single capped a four-run seventh.
Warne earned the win in relief of Vaadeland as Pequot Lakes fell to 3-5 in the conference and 6-8 overall.