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Kruchowski, Bagstad pitch Panthers past Patriots

Lucas Dickinson lunged back to first base on a pick-off play during Park Rapids' Mid-State Conference doubleheader sweep over Pequot Lakes Monday. Vance Carlson / Enterprise

Brendan Kruchowski threw a two-hit complete game and Gabe Bagstad followed by going the distance with a four-hitter as the Park Rapids baseball team swept a Mid-State Conference doubleheader against Pequot Lakes Monday at the Area High School field.

Kruchowski and Pequot Lakes' Cameron Anderson locked up in a pitchers' duel as the opener was scoreless through six innings before the Panthers produced the game's only run in the bottom of the seventh for a walk-off 1-0 win.

Bagstad pitched four scoreless innings as the Panthers used an 11-hit attack to complete the sweep with a 5-2 win in five innings in the second game.

In the opener, Kruchowski allowed only five baserunners, giving up singles in the first and sixth innings and issuing walks in the third, fourth and sixth innings.

Anderson was just as effective through six innings by allowing no hits and only three baserunners. Ty Karger walked with two outs in the first and was hit by a pitch in the fourth while Lucas Dickinson reached on an error in the third.

That changed in the seventh when Kruchowski broke up the no-hitter with a lead-off single and stole second. Kruchowski advanced to third on Zach Hocking's infield single and scored the game-winner on Bagstad's hard-hit grounder to third.

Kruchowski struck out seven in handing the Patriots their first loss in the conference while Anderson finished with five strikeouts as both pitchers went the distance.

Bagstad extended Pequot Lakes' scoreless streak by allowing only four baserunners through the first four innings. Zach Sjoblad doubled, but was thrown out at the plate on Marcus Klein's single in the first. After issuing a one-out walk in the third, Deven Psyck lined a two-out double in the fourth.

While the Patriots didn't mount many scoring threats, Park Rapids' offense produced five early runs to complete the sweep.

Jason Haas singled and stole second, Austin Jerger singled and Kruchowski lined a two-out RBI single as the Panthers led 1-0 in the first.

In the second, Zach Severtson's two-out single started a two-run rally as Tristin Persons followed with an RBI double. Persons stole third and scored on a passed ball to give Park Rapids a 3-0 lead.

The Panthers made it 5-0 in the fourth when Persons walked, Karger lined a two-out single and Jerger lined an RBI single. Karger scored on an error.

Kruchowski walked and Bagstad singled in the third while Hocking, Cameron Hoyt and Severtson had singles during a scoreless fifth to account for the other hits.

Pequot Lakes scored the game's final two runs in the fifth when Dylin Ackerman walked and scored when Chase Larson's single was misplayed for a two-base error. Larson scored on a grounder.

Jerger and Severtson both went 2 for 3 and Bagstad allowed two walks and struck out two over five innings as the Panthers improved to 5-3 in the conference and 8-6 overall.

Pequot Lakes followed those two losses by sweeping a doubleheader against Aitkin Tuesday to win the conference title with an 8-2 record. The Patriots ended the regular season with a 15-3 record. Park Rapids will attempt to lock up second place in the conference standings by closing out the regular season with a doubleheader against Crosby-Ironton (which had a 2-6 record in the conference) on Friday. Detroit Lakes ended Mid-State play with a 6-4 record while Aitkin and Staples-Motley are both 3-6.

"We put together two good games. Pitching was outstanding. Our defense has been solid all year, but we have struggled to throw consistent strikes. Free bases equate to runs and we didn't give up many free bases," said Park Rapids head coach Dan Etter. "Our pitchers are really coming around to the fact that if we throw strikes, we win ball games. I think the guys are really starting to see their potential. We have a very tough section, but if we play our game, we can compete with any team in the section."

GAME 1

Pequot Lakes 000 000 0--0 2 1

Park Rapids 000 000 1-1 3 0

Park Rapids batting: Persons (0-3), Haas (0-3), Karger (0-1), Jerger (0-2), Kruchowski (1-3, 1r), Hocking (1-3), Bagstad (1-3, 1rbi), Dickinson (0-2), Severtson (0-2). Park Rapids pitching: Kruchowski (7ip, 0r, 2h, 3bb, 7k).

GAME 2

Park Rapids 120 20--5 11 1

Pequot Lakes 000 02--2 4 1

Park Rapids batting: Persons (1-2, 2r, 1rbi), Haas (1-2, 1r), Karger (1-3, 1r), Jerger (2-3, 1rbi), Kruchowski (1-2, 1rbi), Hocking (1-3), Bagstad (1-2), DeWinter (0-1), Hoyt (1-2), Severtson (2-3, 1r). Park Rapids pitching: Bagstad (5ip, 2r, 4h, 2bb, 2k).