Panthers stay alive in tourney
The Park Rapids fastpitch softball team pounded out a season-high 19 hits to defeat Wadena-Deer Creek 14-8 Tuesday at Frazee and advance to the Section 8AA championship game.
Fergus Falls, the No. 3 seed from the south half of the section, handed Park Rapids, the No. 3 seed from the north half of the section, its first loss of the tournament with a 16-10 victory in Tuesday's first game.
The Panthers rebounded to defeat W-DC, the No. 5 seed from the south, in an elimination game. W-DC eliminated Detroit Lakes, the No. 1 seed from the north, 9-6 in eight innings in Tuesday's other opening game.
Park Rapids had to defeat Fergus Falls twice Thursday at Frazee to advance to the state Class AA tournament. The Panthers entered the championship game with a 19-6 record while Fergus Falls entered with a 12-8 record.
Otters reach title game
The cold, windy conditions bothered all the pitchers as Park Rapids drew 13 walks and Fergus Falls drew nine walks in a battle of the tournament's only two undefeated teams.
Fergus Falls scored once in the first on a two-out error and added two runs in the third to claim a 3-0 lead.
Park Rapids scored two in the bottom of the third on a single by Ashley Domino, walks to Anna Grimes, Bailee Jerger, Olivia Vaadeland and Caitlan Isaacson, and a wild pitch.
Four hits and an error led to four runs in the fourth, three walks and two singles led to two runs in the fifth, and seven hits and two walks produced seven runs in the sixth as Fergus Falls took a 16-4 lead.
Alyssa Carlson reached on an error and scored on Domino's RBI single in the fourth before Erika Jerger singled with two outs and scored on an error in the fifth to account for the Panthers' two runs in those innings.
Park Rapids attempted a late rally by scoring six times in the sixth. Grimes walked, Domino singled and Bailee Jerger walked to start the inning. Vaadeland and Lauren Naeve lined RBI singles before Isaacson and Erika Jerger walked. Carlson's RBI single capped the inning.
The Panthers, who left 12 runners on base, managed only a two-out single by Naeve in the seventh.
Domino went 3 for 4, Grimes went 2 for 3 and Naeve went 2 for 5 to lead the Panthers' 10-hit attack. Bailee Jerger took the loss.
Panthers reach title game
The Panthers pounded out 19 hits to eliminate W-DC and advance to the section title game.
A walk to Carlson, a single by Grimes, a run-scoring grounder by Domino, a walk to Bailee Jerger and a two-run single by Erika Jerger gave the Panthers a 3-0 lead in the first.
An error, a single and two walks with two outs gave W-DC two runs in the bottom of the inning before the Panthers scored three more times in the second on a single by Carlson, an RBI single by Domino, a single by Bailee Jerger and a two-run double by Vaadeland.
Erika Jerger singled and scored on Carlson's RBI single in the third as the Panthers claimed a 7-2 lead.
Two errors, four walks and two hits helped the Wolverines close the gap to 7-6 in the fourth.
Naeve reached on an error and scored on another error in the fifth to give Park Rapids an 8-6 edge.
W-DC matched that run in the bottom of the inning before the Panthers scored three times in the sixth for an 11-7 advantage. Walks to Bailee Jerger and Naeve and a single by Vaadeland set up a two-run single by Isaacson and an RBI double by McKenna Brand.
The Wolverines scored a run in the bottom of the sixth before the Panthers put the game away by scoring three times in the seventh. Singles by Grimes and Domino, an RBI double by Vaadeland and an error produced the final runs.
Carlson went 3 for 4, Domino went 3 for 5, Vaadeland went 3 for 5, Grimes went 2 for 5, Erika Jerger went 2 for 5, Naeve went 2 for 4 and Isaacson went 2 for 4 to lead the Panthers' offense. Bailee Jerger and Vaadeland combined on an eight-hitter as W-DC ended the season with a 12-9 record.