Panthers still unbeaten in section play
Solid defense and plenty of offense led the Park Rapids fastpitch softball team closer to the Section 8AA title.
The Panthers, the No. 3 seed in the north half of the section, defeated No. 2 Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton 10-0 and No. 1 Detroit Lakes 5-3 Thursday at Thief River Falls to remain undefeated in section play.
Park Rapids played Fergus Falls in a battle of undefeated teams Tuesday at Frazee. The loser of that game played the winner between Detroit Lakes and Wadena-Deer Creek Tuesday. The two survivors Tuesday will play for the section title Thursday.
"The ball we played Thursday was the best level of ball I've seen this group play. We came up with some great defensive plays and had 12 hits in both games," said Park Rapids head coach Marion Goeden, whose team improved to 18-5 on the season. "We tease each other about our ability to think small, but that is how we got it done. We try to stay focused on one play and one pitch at a time. If we focus on the whole picture, we don't tend to play as well. We preach to the girls to do the little things right and the rest will come. This team is a unified group and we feel really good where we are right now."
Panthers blank Rebels
Bailee Jerger threw a five-hit shutout and was backed by a 12-hit offensive attack as the Panthers eliminated D-G-F.
A walk by Alyssa Carlson, a double by Jerger, an error and an RBI single by Olivia Vaadeland gave the Panthers a 2-0 lead in the first inning.
The Panthers added another run in the second on an error and singles by Carlson and Anna Grimes.
A four-run fourth inning pushed the lead to 7-0. Caitlan Isaacson walked and Thelen was safe on a grounder. After a single by Carlson loaded the bases, an RBI single by Grimes, a run-scoring grounder by Ashley Domino and an RBI single by Jerger capped the inning.
Park Rapids ended the scoring in the seventh when singles by Vaadeland, Erika Jerger, Thelen and Carlson led to the final three runs.
Carlson went 4 for 4 while Grimes, Bailee Jerger and Vaadeland each went 2 for 4 to lead the offense as the Panthers snapped the Rebels' 12-game winning streak. D-G-F ended the season with a 16-5 record.
Panthers edge Lakers
The Panthers scored three runs in the fifth inning to defeat Detroit Lakes in the first game of the double-elimination part of the tournament.
Park Rapids took a 2-0 lead in the first on a walk to Carlson, an error, Domino's sacrifice bunt and Bailee Jerger's RBI single.
A two-run single by Emily Seebold gave the Lakers a 3-2 lead in the third before the Panthers sent nine batters to the plate in the fifth. One-out singles by Grimes, Domino, Bailee Jerger and Vaadeland and a two-run single by Isaacson put the Panthers in front.
Bailee Jerger, who finished with a four-hitter, faced only 16 batters in the final four innings to preserve the lead.
The Panthers pounded out 12 hits for the second game in a row with Bailee Jerger going 3 for 4, Carlson going 2 for 3 and Grimes going 2 for 4. Detroit Lakes fell to 16-4 with the loss.