It took three extra innings and four weeks for the Park Rapids baseball team to complete a Mid-State Conference doubleheader sweep against Crosby-Ironton.
The Panthers opened the season on April 23 with a 6-1 win over Crosby-Ironton before the second game was suspended at 2-2 after seven innings. That game resumed Monday, May 20, with Park Rapids scoring the winning run in the top of the 10th inning for a 3-2 victory. That win not only capped off conference play, but snapped a seven-game losing streak for the Panthers.
Back on April 23, the Panthers tied the game at 2-2 by scoring twice in the seventh inning when Joey Stachowski and Tanner Hensel led off with walks, advanced on Brody Hagen's sacrifice bunt, and scored when Tristin Persons walked, Brendan Kruchowski was hit by a pitch and Ty Karger singled. Persons' lead-off single in the first inning was the only other hit for the Panthers when darkness forced the game to be suspended.
Park Rapids threatened to score right away when the game resumed on May 20 when Lucas Dickinson led off with a single and Stachowski was safe on a throwing error on a bunt. Pinch-runner Chaise Persons stole second, but the Panthers left runners on second and third.
After the Rangers left two runners on base in the ninth, Gabe Bagstad led off the 10th with a triple and scored the winning run on a throwing error on Hagen's two-out grounder to third.
Bagstad picked up the win in relief, allowing two hits and striking out six in three innings. Persons started and allowed two runs on seven hits and four walks while striking out six in seven innings.
The win lifted the Panthers' conference record to 4-6 while C-I fell to 1-9 in Mid-State play and 7-9 overall.
Park Rapids 000 000 200 1...3 4 1
Crosby-Ironton 100 100 000 0...2 9 4
Perham rebounded from its first loss of the season for a 9-2 win over the Panthers on Tuesday, May 21.
Wadena-Deer Creek snapped Perham's 16-game winning streak with a 6-0 win in the first game at Perham before the Yellowjackets defeated Park Rapids in the second game. Sam Still, Maddux Kovash and Michael Benke combined on a two-hitter for Perham in this game between Section 8AA rivals.
An RBI single by Carter Mulcahy and an RBI double by Dawson Stevens gave Perham a 2-0 before Bagstad doubled and scored in the bottom of the first inning to make it 2-1.
After Josh Jeziorski's sacrifice fly gave Perham a 3-1 lead in the third, the Yellowjackets scored five times in the fourth on three errors, an RBI single by Stevens and an RBI double by Jeriorski.
Kovash's RBI single made it 9-1 in the fifth before the Panthers concluded the scoring when Jens Anderson reached on an error and scored on another error in the bottom of the fifth.
Hagen's two-out double in the fourth was the only other hit for the Panthers, who fell to 1-7 against Section 8AA opponents and 4-10 overall. Anderson took the loss, allowing eight runs on eight hits and three walks with three strikeouts over the first 3 ⅓ innings. Kruchowski finished up, giving up one run on two hits and four walks with three strikeouts over 3 ⅔ innings. Three Park Rapids errors led to five unearned runs.
Perham improved to 13-1 in section games and 17-1 overall.
"Lately we've been playing a lot better baseball than the scoreboard shows. We're hitting the ball hard, just right at guys," said Park Rapids head coach Dan Etter. "We need to eliminate free bases on defense. If we can do that, I feel we can go toe-to-toe with the good teams."
Perham 201 510 0...9 10 2
Park Rapids 100 010 0...2 2 3