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Park Rapids qualifies for district tournament

The Storm's Cory Gartner slid under the tag of Park Rapids catcher Rilee Johnson to score a run during the Storm's 4-0 Timberline League playoff victory last Tuesday.1 / 4
Park Rapids' Chris Goplerud had to dive back to first base on a pick-off play during last Tuesday's playoff game against the Storm.2 / 4
The Storm's John Weiderin connected for a hit during last Tuesday night's Timberline League playoff game.3 / 4
Kyle Goplerud delivered a pitch during the Timberline League Babe Ruth playoffs.4 / 4

The Park Rapids Babe Ruth 13- to 15-year-old baseball team took the scenic route to qualify for the district tournament.

Park Rapids entered the Timberline East double-elimination tournament as the No. 3 seed with a 10-10 record during the regular season.

After defeating No. 6 Sebeka 14-8 in the first round last Tuesday, Park Rapids was thrown into the losers' bracket with a 4-0 loss to the Park Rapids Storm, the No. 2 seed.

Park Rapids stayed alive with a 6-5 win over No. 4 Menahga and an 8-3 win over Sebeka Thursday.

A 3-1 win over the Storm Friday at Menahga guaranteed Park Rapids a spot in the district tournament. Staples, the No. 1 seed, claimed the East title with an 11-1 victory in Friday night's championship game.

Both Staples and Park Rapids advance to the double-elimination district tournament, which begins Thursday at New York Mills.

In the opening game, Park Rapids trailed Sebeka 8-0 after three innings before rallying by scoring six times in the fourth and eight times in the sixth.

Singles by Mason Long and Josh Severtson sparked the six-run fourth inning. In the sixth, a two-run single by Tyler McCollum, a two-run double by Severtson, and singles by Chris Goplerud, Drew Bade and John Massie completed the comeback.

McCollum struck out seven in relief to pick up the win.

The Storm, which went 12-8 during the regular season, dropped Park Rapids into the losers' bracket with a 4-0 win as Ian Johnson threw a four-hitter and struck out seven.

Paul Prenevost scored on a single by David Dirks in the first inning. Singles by Tanner Otterness and Zach Eystad led to another run in the second. Johnson, who doubled, and Cory Gartner, who walked, scored the Storm's final two runs in the third.

Dirks had two of the Storm's six hits.

Severtson, Massie, Cody Brumbaugh and Chris Goplerud had singles for Park Rapids. Kyle Goplerud took the loss despite striking out six.

Chris Goplerud, Brumbaugh and McCollum had two hits apiece in leading Park Rapids past Menahga.

Singles by Rilee Johnson and McCollum led to a run in the second. Singles by Brumbaugh and Long and a double by Chris Goplerud led to two runs in the fourth. Singles by Massie and Brumbaugh and a double by McCollum led to the three winning runs in the fifth.

Johnson and McCollum combined to strike out nine Menahga batters.

In the 8-3 win over Sebeka, Park Rapids scored seven times in the second inning to take control.

After Massie scored in the first, three walks, two singles by McCollum, a single by Bade and a double by Kyle Goplerud sparked the seven-run second inning.

McCollum threw a three-hitter and struck out four for the win.

Park Rapids earned a spot in the district tournament by eliminating the Storm Friday night.

Chris Goplerud and Massie walked and McCollum singled and scored in the first inning to give Park Rapids a 3-0 lead.

The Storm scored its only run in the second on a single by Brad Eischens and a double by Otterness.

Kyle Goplerud allowed four hits and struck out seven for the win. He retired 17 of the final 19 batters he faced. Kyle Goplerud also singled in the fourth and Massie doubled in the sixth to account for Park Rapids' other hits.

Ian Johnson singled in the first and sixth innings to account for the Storm's other hits. Ian Johnson took the loss, allowing three hits and striking out eight.

Park Rapids was denied the East title with an 11-1 loss to Staples.

A double by Chris Goplerud and a single by Massie accounted for Park Rapids' lone run in the first inning. Massie's single in the third was Park Rapids' only other hit.