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Panthers sweep Patriots in Mid-State finale

First baseman Ryan Peterson prepared to tag out Pequot Lakes' Michael VanKleeck on a pick-off play Tuesday.1 / 2
Jack Mercado delivered a pitch during the first game of a Mid-State Conference doubleheader with Pequot Lakes Tuesday. Mercado's four-hitter led the Panthers to an 11-1 win in the opener.2 / 2

Paul Dirks had six hits and scored five times to spark an offense that had 25 hits and scored 19 runs as the Park Rapids baseball team concluded the regular season by sweeping a Mid-State Conference doubleheader from Pequot Lakes Tuesday at the Area High School field.

The Panthers used a 12-hit attack to defeat Pequot Lakes 11-1 in five innings in the first game and followed with a 13-hit attack in an 8-3 victory in the second game.

Park Rapids set the tone by scoring four times in the first inning of the opener. A single by Dirks, a double by Tucker Coborn, singles by Kevin McMorrow and Dan Pike, and a double by Jack Mercado gave the Panthers the early lead.

After Dirks singled and scored in the second for a 5-1 lead, singles by Dirks and Coborn and doubles by Cory Odland and Mercado sparked a five-run fourth.

The Panthers ended the game via the 10-run rule when McMorrow grounded out to score Ryan Peterson with the bases loaded and one out in the fifth.

Dirks went 3 for 3 and scored three times, Coborn went 3 for 3 with two runs and two RBI, and Mercado went 2 for 4 with four RBI to lead the Panthers. Mercado improved to 3-2 with a four-hit complete-game victory.

In the second game, a four-run second inning sparked the Panthers to the sweep.

Dirks singled and scored in the first before singles by Mercado, Pike, Nick Belfiori, Coborn and McMorrow pushed the lead to 5-0 in the second.

Singles by Belfiori, Dirks and McMorrow led to two more runs in the fourth before Dirks singled and scored the final run in the sixth.

Dirks went 3 for 4 with two runs, Coborn went 2 for 2 with two RBI, McMorrow went 3 for 4 with two RBI, Pike went 2 for 2 and Belfiori went 2 for 3 with two runs to pace the Panthers' offense.

Coborn picked up his third win in three decisions, allowing two runs on four hits over four innings. Odland gave up one run on three hits in three innings of relief.

The sweep gave the Panthers a 4-8 record in the conference while Pequot Lakes finished 1-11 in Mid-State play and 6-14 overall.

Park Rapids carried a 9-11 overall record into Thursday's Section 8AA opener at Detroit Lakes.