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Marion Goeden hopes the members of the Park Rapids fastpitch softball team won't dwell on the final game of the season. Instead, the Panthers' head coach hopes the team will remember all the other moments from a historic season. The Panthers went 20-0 during the regular season to earn the No. 1 seed in the South for the Section 8AA tournament. Two losses to defending section champion Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton during the section tournament prevented the Panthers from accomplishing their main goal of qualifying for the state Class AA tournament.
The Park Rapids fastpitch softball team dominated Mid-State Conference play by going 8-0 while outscoring the opposition 99-24 this spring. The Panthers also dominated the all-conference team with seven selections. Seniors Brooke Jerger and Macky Warne, junior Tara Johanning, and sophomores Kylee Pachel and Mercedez Bellanger earned all-conference honors while sophomore Kendra Coborn and freshman Rilee Michaelson received all-conference honorable mention consideration.
Will Pickar and Brendan Kruchowski pitched complete games in leading the Park Rapids American Legion baseball team to a doubleheader sweep at Walker on July 5. Pickar threw a three-hitter as Post 212 won the opener 10-1. Kruchowski followed with another three-hitter as Park Rapids completed the sweep with a 6-2 win in five innings in the second game. Those victories extended Park Rapids' winning streak to seven games in a row as Post 212 improved to 9-3 on the season. Park Rapids backed Pickar's complete game with a 14-hit attack in the opener.
Midway had to score a run in the bottom of the ninth inning last Saturday afternoon to edge Huntersville 11-10 and remain undefeated in the Lake and Pine League amateur baseball standings. Midway held a 10-6 lead until Huntersville scored four times in the top of the ninth inning to tie the game before the Snurdbirds prevailed in the bottom of that inning.
The Park Rapids American Legion baseball team swept a pair of games against Staples-Motley at Staples on June 30. Post 212 followed a 12-3 win in the first game with a 16-0 victory in the second game to improve to 7-3 on the season. A 13-hit attack sparked Park Rapids to the win in the opener. Singles by Jason Haas and Zach Hocking and a triple by Gabe Bagstad gave Park Rapids a 2-0 lead in the first inning before Brendan Kruchowski reached on an error and scored on an error in the second for a 3-0 advantage.
Corey Hill credits a push in being healthy to the popularity of the main fundraiser for the Park Rapids boys and girls cross-country teams and boys and girls track and field teams. Tuesday's 39th annual Firecracker 5K Footrace drew 589 runners and walkers to Heartland Park to kick off the July 4 holiday. That generated approximately $15,000 to be split three ways for the cross-country, boys track and girls track programs.
Jake Lund gave up a lead-off hit to start Sunday afternoon's Lake and Pine League amateur baseball game at Wolf Lake. The Midway pitcher was unhittable the rest of the game. After giving up a double to Max Knoll and a walk to Nick Meyer to start the game, Lund retired 22 batters in a row and 27 of the final 28 hitters in leading the Snurdbirds to a 6-1 victory. Lund finished with 21 strikeouts, including 11 in a row during one stretch, and added a two-run homer to aid his cause in throwing a dominating complete-game one-hitter.
Five players received Mid-State Conference honors after leading the Park Rapids baseball team to a 4-4 record in conference games this season. Senior Sam Eystad, junior Jason Haas and sophomores Gabe Bagstad and Tristin Persons received all-conference honors while junior Austin Jerger was an all-conference honorable mention selection.
Dan Etter can point to one bad inning in several games that prevented the Park Rapids baseball team from having even more success this season. The Panthers ended the season with an 11-11 overall record in Etter's first season as head coach. However, Park Rapids let several other wins slip away. In the 11 losses, the Panthers gave up at least three runs in an inning in 10 of those games. Committing 57 errors was the main reason opponents were able to produce some big innings and prevented the Panthers from making a deeper run in the Section 8AA playoffs.
Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton once again handed Park Rapids' varsity fastpitch softball team its first loss of the season. During the high school softball season, D-G-F defeated Park Rapids 11-3 in the Section 8AA playoffs after the Panthers opened the season with a 21-0 record. On Tuesday night at Glyndon, D-G-F defeated Park Rapids 4-3 and 10-9 in a pair of Prairies Lakes Conference 18U games. Park Rapids entered the doubleheader with a 4-0 record in its first season in the conference.