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Esox rally for win with walk-off walk

Park Rapids catcher Gavin Hitchcock tagged out Staples' Jake Rude, who was trying to score in the fifth inning of Sunday afternoon's Lake and Pine League game. Vance Carlson / Enterprise

It wasn't the most glamorous ending, but the Park Rapids Esox amateur baseball team will take it.

The Esox took advantage of three errors to set up Gavin Hitchcock's walk-off walk in scoring five runs in the bottom of the ninth inning to rally for an 11-10 Lake and Pine League victory over Staples Sunday afternoon at Park Rapids.

Park Rapids squandered a 6-1 lead before rallying for the win.

The Esox jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first inning when Riley Massie led off with a walk and Dylan Weaver and Clayton Gallus singled to load the bases. Dylan Stenberg's three-run double and Justin Ryan's RBI single gave Park Rapids the early lead.

After Staples scored an unearned run in the second, singles by Dave Mortensen and Dan Pike and a two-run double by Hitchcock made it 6-1 in the third.

The Lumberbats took advantage of an error to score twice in the fifth, used three errors and five stolen bases to score six times in the seventh, and stole two bases to produce another run in the ninth for a 10-6 advantage.

A throwing error on Micah Barrett's grounder and singles by Zach Eystad and Weaver loaded the bases to start Park Rapids' game-winning rally in the bottom of the ninth. A throwing error, walks to Stenberg and Mortensen, and another throwing error tied the game and set up Hitchcock's game-winning walk.

Park Rapids finished with 11 hits with Stenberg (four RBI), Weaver (2 for 5, two runs), Gallus (2 for 5, two runs), Mortensen (2 for 4) and Ryan (2 for 4, two RBI) leading the way. Gallus picked up the win in relief by allowing one run on two hits with a walk and three strikeouts over the final two innings. Stenberg started and gave up three runs on two hits and two walks with two strikeouts over 4.1 innings. Mortensen pitched the next two innings, allowing four runs on four hits and three walks with one strikeout. Ryan gave up two runs on one hit and three walks with two strikeouts in ⅔ of an inning. Park Rapids prevailed despite committing six errors and allowing 12 stolen bases.

The win lifted Park Rapids to 4-8 in the league and 7-12 overall. The Esox will conclude the regular season by hosting Huntersville Saturday afternoon at 1:30 and Nimrod Sunday afternoon at 1:30 in a pair of league games. The Huntersville game was rescheduled from July 15.

Horseflies sting Esox

Huntersville relied on 15 hits and eight walks to defeat Park Rapids 17-7 in seven innings at Menahga on July 9.

The Horseflies scored six times in the first and five times in the fifth before ending the game early via the 10-run rule by scoring twice in the seventh.

The Esox scored a run in the first on doubles by Erik Lockhart and Derek Parks; once in the third on a single by David Dirks and a double by Parks; once in the fourth when Weaver was hit by a pitch and Lockhart singled; twice in the fifth when Parks (who singled) and Pike (who was hit by a pitch) scored; and twice in the sixth when two errors allowed Massie (who walked) and Dirks (who singled) to score.

Park Rapids finished with 10 hits with Parks (3 for 3), Massie (2 for 4), Lockhart (2 for 5) and Dirks (2 for 4) leading the way.

Jordan McCollum started and took the loss, allowing nine runs on seven hits and four walks while striking out two in three innings. Weaver pitched two innings, giving up six runs on two hits and four walks with one strikeout. Parks finished up, allowing two runs on four hits.