Gabe Bagstad and Lucas Dickinson combined on a three-hitter as the Park Rapids baseball team opened the season with a 6-1 Mid-State Conference victory over Crosby-Ironton at the Area High School field on Tuesday, April 23.

The second game of this conference doubleheader was suspended after seven innings because of darkness with the game tied 2-2. That game will resume starting in the top of the eighth inning on May 20 at 4:30 p.m.

In the opener, the Panthers scored once in the first inning, three times in the second, once in the third and once in the fifth.

Brendan Kruchowski singled with two outs, stole second and scored on Bagstad's RBI double to give Park Rapids a 1-0 lead in the first. Doubles by Joey Stachowski and Tristin Persons and two C-I errors extended the lead to 4-0 in the second before Bagstad led off the third with single, advanced on Dickinson's single and scored on a wild pitch to make it 5-1 in the fourth. Tanner Hensel walked and scored on a wild pitch to conclude the scoring in the fifth.

Bagstad went 2 for 3 as the Panthers finished with six hits. Park Rapids left 10 men on base, including stranding runners on second and third in the first, leaving runners on the corners in the third and leaving the bases loaded in the fifth.

Bagstad earned the win, allowing one run on three hits and three walks with eight strikeouts over the first five innings. Dickinson walked two and struck out three during two hitless innings in relief.

In the second game, the Rangers scored runs in the first and fourth innings to claim a 2-0 lead before Park Rapids tied it by scoring twice in the seventh. Stachowski, Hensel and Persons walked to load the bases before Kruchowski was hit by a pitch with two outs to force in the tying run. Ty Karger's single tied the game before the Panthers left the bases loaded.

Persons' single to lead off the first was the only other hit for the Panthers.

Park Rapids' batters managed only eight hits and struck out 24 times while leaving 19 runners on base in the two games.

"We played two solid games on defense. Overall, we pitched well, but we would like to see more strikes being thrown to cut down on our pitch count," said Park Rapids head coach Dan Etter. "We need improvement at the plate, but that will come as we see more live pitching."

GAME 1

Crosby-Ironton 001 000 0...1 3 2

Park Rapids 131 010 x...6 6 1

Park Rapids batters: T. Persons (1-3, 1 r), Hoyt (0-3), Kruchowski (1-3, 1r), Karger (0-2), Bagstad (2-3, 1r), Dickinson (1-4), Hensel (0-1, 1r), Carnell (0-1), Stachowski (1-2, 1r), C. Persons (0-3, 1r). 2B: T. Persons 1, Bagstad 1, Stachowski 1. SB: T. Persons 1, Kruchowsk,i 1, C. Persons 1.

Park Rapids pitching: W-Bagstad (5ip, 1r, 3h, 8k, 3bb) and Dickinson (2ip, 0r, 0h, 3k, 2bb).