Blake Itzen's walk-off two-run single prevented the Park Rapids baseball team from sweeping a Mid-State Conference doubleheader at Detroit Lakes on Thursday, May 2.
Itzen's hit in the bottom of the seventh inning rallied the Lakers to a 6-5 victory in the first game before the Panthers rebounded with an 8-3 victory in the second game.
In the opener, Detroit Lakes used three errors to take a 3-0 lead in the first before Brendan Kruchowski reached on an error and scored on an error for the Panthers' first run in the fourth. Tristin Person's single, Gabe Bagstad's sacrifice fly, two walks, a hit batter and an error tied the game at 4-4 in the sixth before Persons scored to give Park Rapids a 5-4 lead in the seventh. A double and two hit batters loaded the bases to set up Itzen's walk-off hit in the bottom of the seventh.
Kruchowski took the loss, allowing five hits, walking four, hitting five batters and striking out nine. The Panthers finished with only two hits while striking out 11 times and committing five errors in the field. Persons and Kruchowski scored two runs apiece.
Park Rapids took advantage of a pair of errors to take the early lead in the second game to salvage the split.
A single by Persons, a double by Bagstad and two errors gave the Panthers a 2-0 lead in the first inning before scoring five times in the second for a 7-0 lead. Brody Hagen led off with a single before a single by Bagstad, five walks and a hit batter followed with two outs. Chaise Persons' RBI single provided an 8-0 lead in the fourth.
Bagstad went the distance, allowing 10 hits and five walks with five strikeouts as the Lakers stranded 12 runners on base. Bagstad also went 2 for 4 at the plate and scored twice to pace the Panthers' nine-hit offensive attack.
"We faced some adversity early on and responded well in the middle and late innings. They came up with a clutch hit in the seventh to seal the deal," said Park Rapids head coach Dan Etter. "We played much better baseball in the second game on both sides of the ball. We're learning and getting better every game."
The Panthers, who had a conference doubleheader at Aitkin rained out on April 30, are 2-1 in the conference and 2-2 overall. Detroit Lakes is 4-3 in Mid-State play and 4-5 overall.
Park Rapids 000 103 1...5 2 5
Detroit Lakes 300 010 2...6 5 5
Detroit Lakes 000 010 2...3 10 2
Park Rapids 250 100 x...8 9 2