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Warroad wins, prevents Panthers from playing for Section 8AA softball crown

Despite struggling at the plate, the Park Rapids fastpitch softball team was one win away from playing for the Section 8AA title.

The combination of five hits on offense and five errors on defense prevented the Panthers from reaching the section title game.

Park Rapids stayed alive in the double-elimination portion of the tournament by edging Pequot Lakes 2-1 in Tuesday's elimination game at Thief River Falls.

However, the Panthers were denied a trip to the section finals with a 13-2 five-inning loss to Warroad in Tuesday's second elimination game. Warroad, which edged the Panthers 2-1 in the semifinals, had to play Park Rapids again following a 16-6 loss to Ottertail Central Tuesday.

Despite the loss, the Panthers capped off another successful season by going 18-7. The 18 wins are the second most in school history, trailing only the 19-4 mark of the 2003 team.

Brie Warne pitched the Panthers to win No. 18 with a six-hit, nine-strikeout performance against Pequot Lakes.

The Panthers, who defeated Pequot Lakes 7-5 in eight innings and 17-8 late in the regular season, trailed 1-0 as an error led to an unearned run in the first inning.

Park Rapids had two chances to score early, but left runners on first and second in the first and on second and third in the second.

Warne's lead-off walk, a single by Shelby Weckwerth and an RBI single by Ashley Domino tied the game at 1-1 in the fourth.

The Panthers scored the winning run in the sixth on singles by Weckwerth and Anna Grimes and a run-scoring grounder by Domino.

Weckwerth went 2 for 3 as the Panthers were held to only six hits. Warne went the distance for the win.

The Panthers also failed to produce the clutch hits in the loss to Warroad.

Park Rapids left runners on second and third in the first and on second in the second before scoring a run in the third. Carson Lee Christenson was hit by a pitch and scored on Leeza Tostenson's RBI double. The Panthers then stranded runners on second and third.

Warroad took control as two errors led to three runs in the third and two more errors led to four runs in the fourth. Another error and six hits led to the final six runs in the fifth as this game was ended early via the 10-run rule.

Park Rapids scored its other run in the fifth when Christenson singled and scored on Warne's double.

Tostenson went 2 for 2 to lead the offense while Warne took the loss by allowing 15 hits and 13 runs. Only six of those runs were earned as Warne ended the season with a 16-7 record.