Despite being eliminated from the Section 8AA playoffs with a pair of losses at home, the Park Rapids baseball team battled to the end.
Roseau, the No. 2 seed, sent the No. 6-seeded Panthers into an elimination game with a 12-0 win in five innings in the Section 8AA North semifinals at the Area High School field on Thursday, June 3. Park Rapids held a 7-5 lead in the second game before No. 4 Thief River Falls rallied for a 12-9 win.
Thief River Falls faced elimination after a 4-3 loss to No. 1 Warroad in the other North semifinal game. Roseau defeated Warroad 12-2 in six innings in the North title game.
Park Rapids opened the playoffs by eliminating No. 3 Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton 6-5. Park Rapids ended the season with a 7-16 record.
Roseau combined eight walks and three hit batters with seven timely hits to defeat the Panthers and advance to the title game.
The Rams took a 2-0 lead in the first inning on a double by Zach Jaenicke and a single by Isaac Wensloff. After an error led to another run in the second, doubles by Isaac Moser and Gavin Helgeland and two errors made it 6-0 in the third. A six-run fourth inning helped end this game early via the 10-run rule. Two errors, four walks, a double by Helgeland and singles by Aaron Wensloff and Jaenicke capped off the scoring. The Rams left the bases loaded in the first, third and fourth innings.
Nick Michaelson’s two-out double in the second and singles by Kobe Burton and James Hartig in the third provided the only hits for the Panthers. Josh Crandall reached on an error in the fourth for Park Rapids’ only other baserunner.
Aaron Wensloff went the distance, striking out seven as the Panthers were held scoreless for the first time this season. Brody Hagen started and took the loss. Chaise Persons took over in the fourth.
Roseau improved to 18-4.
Park Rapids 000 00...0 3 5
Roseau 213 6x...12 7 1
W-A. Wensloff. L-Hagen.
Thief River Falls trailed 7-5 before a four-run fourth inning sparked the comeback win.
A double by Jace Erickson and singles by Morgan Rude, Gannon Kempert, Cody Wienen, Riley Manderud, Jacob Zavoral and Collin Bruggeman gave the Prowlers a 4-0 lead in the first.
Persons walked and scored on Cole Ackerman’s single in the second before TRF responded in the bottom of that inning as a double by Zach Westland made it 5-1.
The Panthers took the lead by scoring three runs in the third and three runs in the fourth. Isaiah Olson and Crandall were hit by pitches, Brody Hagen walked, Jaxson Lund had an RBI single and Persons lofted a sacrifice fly. An error also helped the Panthers cut the gap to 5-4. In the fourth, an error, singles by Hartig and Hagen, and doubles by Olson and Ethan Eischens gave Park Rapids a 7-5 lead.
Singles by Erickson, Kimpert, Wienen and Bruggeman gave TRF a 9-7 lead in the fourth before a double by Kempert and a single by Westlund pushed the Prowlers’ lead to 11-7 in the fifth.
Singles by Hagen and Eischens made it 11-8 in the sixth before Zavoral singled and scored on a wild pitch in the bottom of that inning as TRF led 12-8. Singles by Michaelson and Ackerman and a sacrifice fly by Hartig concluded the scoring in the seventh.
Hagen (3 for 3), Eischens (2 for 4) and Ackerman (2 for 3) led the Panthers’ 10-hit attack. Noah Larson started and took the loss. Persons took over in the fourth as those two pitchers combined to allow 16 hits and five walks while striking out three.
Thief River Falls advanced with a 10-10 record.