Erickson, Becker pitch well for Esox in playoff losses
TJ Erickson and Austin Becker pitched complete games as the Park Rapids Esox ended a successful season with a pair of losses at the Region 14C amateur baseball tournament Aug. 4-5 at Deer Creek.
Park Rapids, the No. 2 seed in the Lake and Pine League, opened with a 4-2 loss to Deer Creek Aug. 4. Deer Creek entered as the No. 3 seed in the Hi-10 League.
Both teams scored a run in the first inning before the Shockers scored once in the fifth and twice in the eighth to build a 4-1 lead. The Esox scored the final run in the bottom of the eighth.
The Esox finished with six hits with Riley Massie (1 for 5), Tom Juberian (1 for 5), Erickson (1 for 4), Zach Hocking (1 for 3), Nick Jasmer (1 for 4) and Jed Ryan (1 for 4) each contributing one single. Massie and Juberian scored the runs while Erickson and Hocking had an RBI apiece.
Erickson allowed two earned runs with two walks and three strikeouts. Three Park Rapids errors led to two of the Shockers' runs.
Travis George gave up one run on five hits in 8 ⅔ innings for the win.
Al Pietila threw a seven-hitter and struck out 16 as Wolf Lake eliminated the Esox on Aug. 5 with a 5-4 victory.
Wolf Lake, the No. 3 seed in the Lake and Pine League, took a 4-0 lead by scoring twice in the both the first and second innings. Park Rapids tied it at 4-4 with a run in the second, a run in the fifth and two runs in the seventh before the Wolf Pack scored the winning run in the ninth.
Massie led Park Rapids' seven-hit offensive attack by going 3 for 5 with two runs scored. Cody Schirmers (1 for 4), Hocking (1 for 4), Dave Mortensen (1 for 4) and Becker (1 for 3) had the other hits for the Esox. Schirmers and Jasmer scored the other runs.
Becker walked six and struck out five while allowing three earned runs as Wolf Lake capitalized on five Park Rapids errors.
Pietila walked three and gave up three earned runs while going 2 for 5 with a double and three RBI at the plate. Derek Pihlaja went 2 for 4 with two runs, Tom Litzau went 1 for 4 with two runs, Logan Wacker went 1 for 2 with a run scored and Colby Pudas went 1 for 3 to pace Wolf Lake's offense.
These two teams split league games during the regular season with Wolf Lake winning 3-2 and Park Rapids winning 11-7. The Esox ended the season with a 12-10 record.
"We couldn't get the bats going all weekend and we made some untimely errors and shot ourselves in the foot," said Ryan. "TJ and Austin pitched well and gave us an opportunity to win, but we left too many runners on base or struggled getting guys on base to begin with. We're looking forward to another good season next summer with a better performance in regions."