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Amateur Baseball: Park Rapids eliminated from Region 14C tournament

Midway, Wolf Lake also see seasons end at region tournament.

Brendan Kruchowski, shown during a Lake & Pine League game at Wolf Lake earlier this season, hit a solo home run to spark the Park Rapids Esox to a 7-3 win over Verndale at New York Mills on Friday, Aug. 5, 2022, to open the Region 14C amateur baseball tournament.
Vance Carlson / Park Rapids Enterprise
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The Park Rapids Esox saw the season end with a pair of losses during the Region 14C amateur baseball tournament.

Park Rapids, which received the No. 4 seed in the Lake & Pine League, opened the tournament with a 7-3 win over Verndale in a play-in game at New York Mills on Friday, Aug. 5, to snap a six-game losing streak. Verndale was the No. 5 seed from the Hi-10 League.

A four-run seventh inning led the Esox past Verndale. Kevin Murphy singled and Jason Haas followed an error with an RBI single. After a walk to Nick Jasmer, Riley Massie’s grounder and Zach Hocking’s two-run double gave Park Rapids a 6-3 lead. Brendan Kruchowski capped off the scoring with a solo home run in the eighth.

Jasmer tripled and scored on Massie’s RBI single in the first and Hocking lined a two-out single and scored on TJ Erickson’s RBI triple in the sixth to account for the Esox’s other runs.

Derek Lindow went the distance for the win, allowing three unearned runs on six hits and two walks while striking out 10.


Bluffton (the No. 1 seed in the Hi-10 League) sent the Esox into the losers’ bracket with a 15-2 victory in seven innings at Perham on Saturday, Aug. 6.

Jake Dykhoff went 3 for 5 with a homer and two doubles and drove in five runs to lead Bluffton, which took control by scoring seven runs in the second.

Park Rapids managed only one hit. Kruchowski walked and scored on an error in the second and Dillon McGee singled and scored on Kruchowski’s grounder in the sixth for the Esox’s two runs. Lindow started and took the loss, allowing seven runs on six hits while pitching into the second. Murphy gave up seven runs on eight hits in three innings and Kruchowski allowed one run on one hit in two innings.

Park Rapids stayed alive by topping Nimrod (the No. 2 seed in the Lake & Pine) 2-0 in an elimination game on Sunday, Aug. 7 at Perham.

DJ Reichling went the distance for the win, giving up seven hits and three walks with six strikeouts over nine innings.

Singles by Massie and Hocking and an error gave Park Rapids a 1-0 lead in the third while McGee’s double and an error produced the game’s other run in the seventh.

The Esox had eight hits with Hocking going 3 for 5 and McGee going 2 for 4 to lead the way.

Park Rapids was eliminated with a 9-4 loss to Deer Creek at Perham on Sunday, Aug. 7. Deer Creek was the No. 4 seed in the Hi-10 League.


Deer Creek built a 7-0 lead after four innings before the Esox scored single runs in the next four innings. In the fifth, singles by Jasmer and Massie set up an RBI single by McGee. In the sixth, Kruchowski singled, advanced on a single by Murphy and a walk to Reichling, and scored on an error. A single by McGee, a wild pitch and an RBI single by Hocking produced a run in the seventh. Haas singled and scored on a bases-loaded walk to Hocking in the eighth to conclude the scoring.

Murphy took the loss, allowing 11 hits and three earned runs in a complete-game effort. Four Park Rapids errors led to six unearned runs. Park Rapids equalled Deer Creek’s 11 hits with Jasmer (2 for 5), McGee (2 for 4) and Kruchowski (2 for 5) leading the way.

The Esox closed the season with an 8-12 record.

In the other Region 14C play-in games, Deer Creek defeated Wolf Lake (the No. 5 seed in the Lake & Pine) 4-0 at Deer Creek, Midway (the No. 3 seed in the Lake & Pine) edged Vergas (the No. 6 seed in the Hi-10) 5-4 at Menahga and Perham (the No. 3 seed in the Hi-10) eliminated Staples (the No. 6 seed in the Lake & Pine) 15-1 at Perham.

In the quarterfinals, Deer Creek topped Sebeka (the No. 1 seed in the Lake & Pine) 6-4 and New York Mills (the No. 2 seed in the Hi-10) blanked Midway 5-0 at Deer Creek while Perham routed Nimrod 20-4 at Perham. New York Mills defeated Deer Creek 15-1 at Deer Creek and Bluffton edged Perham 5-4 in 10 innings at Perham in the semifinals. New York Mills earned a trip to the state Class C tournament with a 6-3 win over Bluffton at Perham.

In the loser’s bracket, Sebeka eliminated Midway with a 5-0 victory while Perham eliminated Sebeka with a 9-0 win at Deer Creek. Midway ended the season with a 10-9 mark.

The Region 14C tournament concludes at Perham with Perham playing Deer Creek on Friday (Aug. 12) at 7:30 p.m. with the winner playing Bluffton at Perham on Saturday (Aug. 13) at 1 p.m. The championship game is set for Saturday (Aug. 13) at 4 p.m. at Perham. The Region 14C champion and runner-up advance to the state Class C tournament, which begins Aug. 19 at Faribault, Dundas and Miesville.


The All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, formed as male ball players were being drafted into the military for World War II efforts, allowed more than 600 female players a chance to shine and get a paycheck to play their game on a national stage. It was immortalized in popular culture by the movie "A League of Their Own" and a new streaming show by the same name.

1982 Dawson-Boyd High School graduate
1987 Moorhead State University graduate
Sports reporter for Park Rapids Enterprise since 1987
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