Ethan Eischens had a pair of clutch hits as the Park Rapids baseball team avenged a regular-season loss to Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton to advance in the Section 8AA playoffs.
Eischens drove in five runs to spark the Panthers to a 6-5 win at Glyndon on Tuesday, June 1. D-G-F defeated the Panthers 10-6 on May 14.
The Rebels, who were the No. 3 seed in the North, used an RBI triple by Jordan Summers to take a 2-0 lead in the first inning. D-G-F used three walks to load the bases with no outs in the second, but couldn’t score.
Park Rapids, the No. 6 seed, took a 3-2 lead in the third on a single by Isaiah Olson, a walk to Brody Hagen, a two-run single by Eischens and a sacrifice fly by Jaxson Lund.
After D-G-F used two errors to tie the game at 3-3 in the bottom of the inning, the Panthers regained the lead without the benefit of a hit in the fourth. Cole Ackerman and James Hartig were hit by pitches and Olson reached on an error to lead the bases. Eischens was hit by a pitch with two outs to force in a run and give Park Rapids a 4-3 edge.
The Panthers extended their lead to 6-3 in the sixth when Olson walked and Eischens blasted a two-out home run.
D-G-F rallied in the bottom of the seventh when an error led to a pair of runs before Olson capped off the complete-game victory.
Hagen and Eischens singled in the first and Lund singled in the fifth to account for the Panthers’ other hits. Eischens went 3 for 3 with three runs and five RBI as Park Rapids had six hits in the game. Olson allowed five runs on five hits and seven walks while striking out seven and stranding 10 runners on base as the Panthers improved to 7-14. D-G-F ended the season at 12-9.
“Isaiah pitched a great game and we minimized innings where we made mistakes. We have been talking all year about the fact that we will make errors, it's going to happen, but refocusing and working hard to get out of an inning without letting those errors hurt you is what we need to do and at DGF we did just that,” said Park Rapids head coach Kevin Murphy. “Our approach at the plate was good and we strung together some nice at-bats and got a few key hits when we needed them, including a two-run homer from Ethan. After losing to DGF in the regular season, it was great to travel back there and come away with a win this time.”
In the other Section 8AA North games, No. 8 Hawley eliminated No. 9 East Grand Forks 9-8 before being eliminated by No. 1 Warroad 13-0, No. 4 Thief River Falls edged No. 5 Crookston 12-9 and No. 2 Roseau defeated No. 7 Bagley 7-2.
In the South, No. 8 Frazee edged No. 9 Barnesville 1-0, No. 1 Perham routed Frazee 22-0, No. 2 Wadena-Deer Creek defeated No. 7 Ottertail Central 12-2, No. 3 Menahga shut out No. 6 Fergus Falls 2-0 and No. 4 Breckenridge defeated No. 5 Pelican Rapids 4-3.
Park Rapids will play Roseau at Park Rapids at 2:30 p.m. on Thursday (June 3) and will follow with another game at 4:30 p.m. The section tournament will move to Wadena and Deer Creek with the Section 8AA championship game set for June 10 at Wadena.