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Perham eliminates Panthers from section playoffs

Perham's Max Tostenson tagged out Park Rapids' Lucas Dickinson, who was attempting to advance to third base on a single, during the fifth inning of Tuesday's Section 8AA elimination game. Vance Carlson / Enterprise1 / 3
Park Rapids' Ty Karger attempted to make a diving catch in left field during Tuesday's Section 8AA playoff game against Perham. Vance Carlson / Enterprise2 / 3
Park Rapids' Jason Haas waited to tag out Perham's Nick Lindberg, who was attempting to steal second base, during Tuesday's Section 8AA playoff game. Vance Carlson / Enterprise3 / 3

For five innings, Perham’s Nick Lindberg and Park Rapids’ Gabe Bagstad dueled it out on the mound in an elimination game of the Section 8AA baseball tournament at Park Rapids Tuesday afternoon.

A two-out rally in the top of the sixth inning broke open a 1-1 tie and sparked Perham to a 4-1 victory.

Perham, the section’s No. 2 seed in the South, took advantage of an error and a couple free passes to load the bases with one out. Dawson Stevens led off with a single and advanced to second on Ryan Kalina’s sacrifice bunt. After Maddux Kovash reached on an error, Carter Mulcahy walked to fill the bases. Bagstad recorded a strikeout for the second out, but hit Noah Rooney to force in the go-ahead run and give the Yellowjackets a 2-1 lead. Ty Moser followed with a two-run double to provide two insurance runs.

That was enough for Lindberg, who retired six of the final seven batters he faced. Lindberg allowed a two-out double to Austin Jerger in the sixth before finishing up a five-hit, 10-strikeout complete game. Lindberg didn’t walk a batter and left five Park Rapids runners on base, improving to 6-1 on the season with a 1.23 ERA.

After both pitchers battled through three scoreless innings, Perham scored an unearned run in the fourth when Stevens led off with a walk and courtesy runner Dylan Fudge stole second. Fudge scored when Bagstad’s pickoff attempt hit Fudge in the helmet and the ball bounced into center field. Fudge beat the throw home, sliding under the tag of Park Rapids catcher Tristin Persons as the Yellowjackets led 1-0. Kovash followed with a walk and Mulcahy singled, but a double play ended that inning.

Park Rapids, the No. 3 seed in the North, tied the game in the bottom of that inning when Jason Haas led off with a double, moved to third on Zach Hocking’s grounder to second, and scored on Austin Jerger’s grounder to short. Jerger was safe on the play when Haas beat the throw home as the game was tied at 1-1. Bagstad followed with a single, but Lindberg left two runners on base.

The Panthers threatened in the fifth when Ty Karger led off with a single, but was forced at second on Lucas Dickinson’s bunt. Zach Severtson followed with a single, but Dickinson was thrown out attempting to advance to third as the game remained tied.

Perham followed by scoring the game-winning runs in the sixth to stay alive in the double-elimination tournament.

Bagstad took the loss, allowing four runs on four hits, four walks and two hit batters in 5 ⅔ innings. Bagstad hit a batter in the first, issued two walks in the second and gave up a single to Moser in the third before leaving in the sixth as Brendan Kruchowski took over on the mound.

Bagstad was Park Rapids’ only other baserunner, reaching with two outs in the second on a wild pitch on a third strike and stealing second before being stranded. Lindberg retired the Panthers in order in the first, third and seventh innings.

The loss ended the Panthers’ season at 13-8. Perham defeated the Panthers 8-3 in the second game of the regular season.

In Tuesday’s other elimination games at Park Rapids, Frazee (the No. 5 seed in the South) eliminated East Grand Forks (the No. 2 seed in the North) 5-2 and Perham eliminated Frazee 12-0 in five innings. Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton (the No. 1 seed in the North) edged Wadena-Deer Creek (the No. 3 seed in the South) 2-1 to advance to the championship game. Frazee ended the season with a 14-10 record while East Grand Forks finished at 16-4.

Perham (19-5) and W-DC (19-5) will play Thursday (June 7) at noon at Park Rapids in the final elimination game with the winner advancing to play D-G-F (21-2) at 2:30 in the title game.

Perham  000 103  0--4 4 1Park Rapids   000 100 0--1  5 2W-Lindberg. L-Bagstad.
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