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Panthers edge Wolverines in season opener

Park Rapids' Austin Jerger had to dive back to second base as Wadena-Deer Creek shortstop Colby Schertler waited for the throw on a pick-off play during Thursday's season opener. Vance Carlson / Enterprise1 / 3
First baseman Zach Hocking scooped up a ground ball during Park Rapids' 1-0 win over Wadena-Deer Creek Thursday. Vance Carlson / Enterprise2 / 3
Zach Severtson had to dive back to first base on a pick-off attempt during Park Rapids' season opener against Wadena-Deer Creek Thursday.3 / 3

It wasn't the most glamorous win, but head coach Dan Etter and the Park Rapids baseball team will take it.

Zach Hocking scored the game's only run on a two-out throwing error in the bottom of the seventh inning to give the Panthers' a 1-0 victory over Wadena-Deer Creek in their season opener Thursday at the Area High School field.

Both teams squandered scoring chances in this pitchers' duel between W-DC's Justin Dykhoff and the Panthers' Will Pickar.

W-DC left seven runners on base, including three on third base. Jake Dykhoff lined a two-out double, but was stranded in the first inning. Preston Warren reached on an error and Noah Ross singled, but were stranded on second and third in the third. Jake Dykhoff and Wyatt Hamann singled in the sixth, but were left on the corners. Colby Schertler walked and was left at third in the seventh.

The Panthers stranded four runners on base in the late innings. Justin Dykhoff faced only nine batters through the first three innings before Jason Haas singled with two outs in the fourth, Zach Severtson walked with two outs in the fifth, and Haas walked and Gabe Bagstad singled with two outs in the sixth. All four runners were left on base.

Park Rapids ended the game in the bottom of the seventh when Hocking led off with a single, moved to second on Brendan Kruchowski's sacrifice bunt and scored on an overthrow to first on Ty Karger's two-out grounder to short.

Pickar went the distance, allowing five hits and two walks while striking out three.

Dykhoff was just as effective, allowing two hits and four walks while striking out 10 over six innings. Max Phillips took the loss in relief for the Wolverines.

W-DC 000 000 0--0 5 1

Park Rapids 000 000 1--1 3 1

Park Rapids hitting: Persons (0-2), Haas (1-2), Bagstad (1-3), Jerger (0-2), Hocking (1-3, 1r), Kruchowski (0-2), Severtson (0-2), Karger (0-3), Hoyt (0-2). Park Rapids pitching: Pickar (7ip, 0r, 3h, 2bb, 5k).

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