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Mercado keys Panthers' win over Bagley

Jack Mercado had three hits and threw a seven-hitter in leading the Park Rapids baseball team to a 10-4 win at Bagley Thursday.

A four-run first inning set the tone for the Panthers. Singles by Sam Coborn, Kevin McMorrow, Mercado, Levi Erickson and Ryan Peterson gave the Panthers a 4-0 lead.

Singles by Paul Dirks, Cory Odland and Mercado and an error led to three more runs in the second as Park Rapids held a 7-1 lead.

The Panthers sealed the win by scoring three more runs in the sixth. A single by Dirks, a walk to Odland, a single by McMorrow, a double by Mercado and a single by Dan Pike ended the scoring.

McMorrow and Mercado each went 3 for 4 with two runs and two RBI while Dirks and Odland each went 2 for 4 with two runs. Erickson also went 2 for 4.

Mercado gave up three earned runs while striking out six as the Panthers improved to 7-11.

The Panthers, who ended the regular season with a Mid-State Conference doubleheader with Pequot Lakes Tuesday, received the No. 7 seed in the north for the Section 8AA playoffs and will open at No. 2 Detroit Lakes Thursday at 5 p.m.

The winner of that game plays the winner between No. 3 Perham and No. 6 Roseau Saturday at 4 p.m. at the higher seed. The rest of the section tournament moves to Fergus Falls starting next Tuesday.