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Esox edge Nimrod, finish second in L&P

The Park Rapids Esox built an early lead, then held off a late rally to secure second place in the Lake and Pine League amateur baseball standings with a 7-5 win over Nimrod Sunday afternoon at Park Rapids.

Park Rapids jumped out to a 6-0 lead before holding on for the win in this regular-season finale to lock up the No. 2 seed for the upcoming Region 14C tournament. Both teams entered this game tied for second with 10-3 records in league play.

The Esox took a 2-0 lead in the first inning. Tom Juberian was hit by a pitch with one out and TJ Erickson followed with a double. Both scored on Zach Hocking's single.

Cody Schirmers singled with one out in the second, moved to second on Juberian's two-out walk and scored on Erickson's RBI single to give the Esox a 3-0 lead.

Park Rapids made it 6-0 in the third. Dave Mortensen singled with one out before a two-out walk to Nick Jasmer and an error on Schirmers' grounder to first base loaded the bases. Riley Massie's two-run single and Juberian's RBI single allowed three unearned runs to score.

Cody Pulju singled and scored on a two-out wild pitch in the fifth before Park Rapids made it 7-1 in the seventh when Jasmer singled, moved to second on a wild pitch and scored on a double by Schirmers.

Nimrod attempted a late rally by scoring twice in both the eighth and ninth innings.

Singles by Jackson Weniger and Mason Dailey and a two-run double by Pulju with two outs cut the gap to 7-3 in the eighth before a single by Adam Thompson and a double by Weniger set up an RBI single by Matt Lillquist and a run-scoring grounder by Dailey to conclude the scoring.

Erickson went the distance for the Esox, scattering 12 hits while walking four and striking out five over nine innings. Schirmers went 2 for 4 and scored twice while Erickson went 2 for 4 to pace Park Rapids' nine-hit offensive attack. Jasmer also scored twice as the Esox closed out the regular season with an 11-3 mark in league play and a 12-8 overall record.

The Gnats, who dropped a 7-6 decision to Park Rapids on May 20, left 13 runners on base. Taylor Carlson gave up three runs over the first two innings, Alex Brockpahler allowed four runs over the next five innings, and Paul Funk pitched a scoreless eighth inning.

Midway claimed the league title with a 12-2 mark while Nimrod finished third at 10-4. Wolf Lake (8-6), Sebeka (6-8), Staples (6-8), Huntersville (3-11) and Verndale (0-14) rounded out the Lake and Pine League standings.

Park Rapids, which had Saturday's game at Deer Creek canceled, plays Deer Creek (the No. 3 seed in the Hi-10 League with a 6-6 record) in the first round of the Region 14C tournament Saturday afternoon at 1 at Deer Creek. The winner of that game plays Saturday night at 7:30 at Deer Creek while the loser plays Sunday afternoon at 11 a.m. at Deer Creek in an elimination game.