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Babe Ruthers qualify for state tournament

Ian Johnson1 / 2
Rilee Johnson2 / 2

A runner-up finish in the District 2 tournament sent the Park Rapids Babe Ruth baseball team to the state intact tournament.

Park Rapids advanced to the district championship game by defeating Vergas 10-3 and Bagley 9-6 Wednesday and Staples 9-7 in 10 innings Thursday at New York Mills. The Park Rapids 13- to 15-year-olds settled for second place with an 11-7 loss to New York Mills Friday.

The double-elimination state tournament begins Thursday at Fergus Falls. Park Rapids plays Fergus Falls at 10 a.m. at the American Legion field. The winner plays Litchfield at 2:30 while the loser plays Friday at 1 p.m. at the Minnesota State Community and Technical College.

Rounding out the 12-team field are Ada-Borup, Melrose, Barnesville, Browerville, Pearl Lake, Ashby, Hawley and Fosston. The tournament concludes Sunday.

Park Rapids secured a state trip by opening the district tournament with three wins.

Ian Johnson threw an eight-hit complete game in leading Park Rapids past Vergas.

Singles by Chris Goplerud, John Massie, Kyle Goplerud, Tyler McCollum, Rilee Johnson and Drew Bade led to four runs in the first inning before singles by McCollum and Rilee Johnson led to two more runs in the second. A triple by Ian Johnson, singles by Kyle Goplerud and McCollum, a triple by Rilee Johnson and a single by Bade produced the final four runs in the fourth.

Bade had four hits while McCollum and Rilee Johnson had three hits apiece. Chris Goplerud, Ian Johnson, Kyle Goplerud and McCollum scored two times each.

David Dirks threw an eight-hit complete game as Park Rapids edged Bagley.

Bade doubled and scored on Kyle Goplerud's double in the first before a double by Chris Goplerud and singles by Kyle Goplerud, Rilee Johnson and Massie sparked a four-run third inning. Singles by Dirks, McCollum and Rilee Johnson led to two runs in the fifth before singles by McCollum and Rilee Johnson produced the final two runs in the seventh.

Rilee Johnson had three hits while Chris Goplerud, Kyle Goplerud and McCollum had two hits apiece.

Ian Johnson and McCollum pitched Park Rapids past Staples for a spot in the state tournament.

Both teams scored twice in the sixth inning for a 7-7 tie before Chris Goplerud and Bryce Brovitch scored the winning runs on wild pitches for Park Rapids in the 10th inning.

Ian Johnson scored on Kyle Goplerud's double in the first before Park Rapids scored four times in the fifth on a single by Cody Brumbaugh, a double by Chris Goplerud, a triple by Ian Johnson and a single by McCollum.

A single by Brumbaugh and four walks led to two runs in the sixth before Park Rapids won it in extra innings.

Ian Johnson allowed seven runs on eight hits over the first seven innings before McCollum pitched three scoreless innings of relief. Johnson struck out eight while McCollum had seven strikeouts.

Chris Goplerud and Brumbaugh led the offense with three hits each while Ian Johnson and Brumbaugh scored two runs apiece.

New York Mills capitalized on errors to score six times in the third and four times in the fourth to claim the district title.

Singles by Chris Goplerud and Bade led to a run in the first. A double by Bade and singles by Dirks, Kyle Goplerud and McCollum sparked a four-run third inning. Singles by Bade and Kyle Goplerud led to another run in the fourth before Riley Massie singled and scored in the fifth.

Bade had three hits and Kyle Goplerud had two hits for Park Rapids. Dirks started and took the loss.