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Late rally by Rangers hands Panthers first loss of season

Nikki Eischens (5) slid under the tag for a stolen base during Park Rapids' doubleheader sweep over Wadena-Deer Creek Monday.

  A late rally by Crosby-Ironton in the second game of a Mid-State Conference doubleheader Tuesday handed the Park Rapids fastpitch softball team its first loss of the season.

     The Panthers improved to 5-0 in conference play by defeating Wadena-Deer Creek 2-1 and 11-4 Monday and C-I 8-2 in the first game Tuesday. The Rangers ended Park Rapids’ perfect season as an eight-run seventh inning led to a 12-11 victory.


Panthers sweep Wolverines

     Bailee Jerger’s four-hitter led the Panthers to the win in the first game while a 15-hit attack sparked the win in the second game as the Panthers swept Wadena-Deer Creek in a pair of five-inning games.

     In the opener, a single by Lauren Naeve, a double by Nakkita Buckanaga and an RBI single by Shania Johnson gave the Panthers a 1-0 lead in the first.

     Nikki Eischens singled with two outs, stole second, advanced to third on a single by Naeve and scored on a double steal to give the Panthers a 2-0 lead in the second.

     The Wolverines scored an unearned run in the fourth and loaded the bases with two outs in the fifth before Jerger got out of the jam to preserve the win.

     In the second game, the Panthers jumped out to a 7-0 lead after two innings to spark the sweep.

     Singles by Naeve, Buckanaga, Katelyn Hilmanowski, Eischens and Caitlan Isaacson led to three runs in the first before singles by Naeve and Johnson, doubles by Jerger and Isaacson, and three errors led to four more runs in the second.

     After W-DC used Sam Killian’s three-run homer to cut the gap to 7-3 in the third, Buckanaga’s three-run homer pushed the Panthers’ lead to 10-3 in the bottom of that inning.

     Naeve singled and scored on Hilmanowski’s bases-loaded walk to conclude the scoring in the fourth.

     Naeve and Isaacson had two hits apiece while Buckanaga drove in four runs to lead the Panthers’ offense. Jerger threw a three-hitter in another complete-game effort.

Rangers rally for a split

     The Panthers were in position to sweep Crosby-Ironton and improve to 6-0 on the season before three errors in the top of the seventh inning gave the Rangers the split.

     Morgan Dean threw a three-hitter in leading the Panthers to the win in the first game.

     After C-I scored twice in the second, Hope Johnson’s two-run single and Shania Johnson’s two-run double led to four runs in the bottom of the second as the Panthers claimed a 4-2 lead.

     Shania Johnson’s RBI single made it 5-2 in the fourth before the Panthers sealed the win by scoring three times in the sixth on three two-out errors.

     Shania Johnson went 2 for 4 with five RBI and Buckanaga went 2 for 4 to lead the offense. Dean struck out eight for the win.

     In the second game, the Panthers jumped out to an 8-1 lead before C-I rallied.

     Singles by Shania Johnson, Jessie O’Hern and Isaacson and four errors gave the Panthers a quick 5-0 lead in the first.

     Shania Johnson singled and scored in the second before singles by Isaacson, Sarena Kinkel and Naeve sparked a two-run third as the Panthers led 8-1.

     After the Rangers scored three times in the fifth, Sydney Bynum singled and scored on Shania Johnson’s RBI single as the Panthers carried a 9-4 lead into the seventh inning.

     C-I sent 13 batters to the plate in the seventh and used five hits and three errors to take a 12-9 lead.

     The Panthers attempted a late rally in the bottom of the seventh, but a bunt single by Ashley Thelen, an RBI single by Kinkel and an RBI double by Shania Johnson fell short.

     Shania Johnson led the Panthers’ 16-hit attack by going 4 for 4 while Jerger, Isaacson and Kinkel each went 2 for 3. Dean struck out eight batters in the first four innings before being relieved by Jerger in the seventh.