Baseball: Park Rapids' offense struggles against Crookston, Aitkin

Three shutouts leave the Panthers with an 8-9 overall record.

Noah Larson delivers a pitch during Park Rapids' game against Crookston on Monday, May 23, 2022.
Vance Carlson / Park Rapids Enterprise
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PARK RAPIDS – Blake Melsa threw a three-hitter and struck out nine to spark Crookston to an 11-0 win over the Park Rapids baseball team in a game between Section 8AA teams at the Area High School field on Monday, May 23.

RBI singles by Melsa, Jack Doda and Ethan Boll along with three errors gave Crookston a 7-0 lead in the second inning. The Pirates added another run in the fifth before RBI singles by Cade DeLeon and Doda concluded the scoring in the seventh.

Ethan Eischens’ single in the first, Noah Larson’s leadoff double in the second and Kobe Burton’s single in the fourth were the only hits for the Panthers as Melsa retired the final 10 batters.

Park Rapids second baseman Noah Morris throws out a runner at first base during a game against Crookston on Monday, May 23, 2022.
Vance Carlson / Park Rapids Enterprise

Jaxson Lund started and took the loss, allowing six runs while pitching into the second. Larson gave up four runs before Matt Johanning finished up in the seventh. Those three pitchers combined to give up eight hits and six walks while striking out five.

The loss marked the fourth straight shutout for the Panthers, who fell to 3-2 against section opponents and 8-9 overall. Crookston improved to 2-5 in section play and 5-8 overall.


Crookston 070 010 3…11 8 0

Park Rapids 000 000 0…0 3 3

W–Melsa. L–Lund, 0-3.

Park Rapids hitting: Olson (0-2), Lund (0-3), Eischens (1-2), Yliniemi (0-3), Larson (1-3), Michaelson (0-3), K. Burton (1-3), Johanning (0-3), Morris (0-2). 2B: Larson 1, SB: Olson 1.

Park Rapids pitching; Lund (1ip, 6r, 2h, 2bb, 2k); Larson (5.2ip, 5r, 5h, 4bb, 3k); Johanning (0.1ip, 0r, 1h, 0bb, 0k).

Aitkin sweeps Panthers

AITKIN – Zach Ehnstrom and Tanner Hills pitched complete games as Aitkin swept a Mid-State Conference doubleheader from the Panthers on May 20.

Ehnstrom threw a two-hitter and struck out seven as the Gobblers won the first game 8-0 while Hills tossed a three-hitter and struck out five as Aitkin completed the sweep with a 4-0 victory in the second game in the conference finale for both teams.

Mason Yliniemi singled in the second and fifth innings to account for the Panthers’ only hits in the first game while singles by Lund in the first, Isaiah Olson in the third and Noah Morris in the sixth accounted for Park Rapids’ hits in the second game.

Morris started and took the loss in the opener while DJ Reichling started and suffered the loss in the second game.

Aitkin and Detroit Lakes shared the conference title with 9-1 records. The Gobblers improved to 12-2 overall while Park Rapids fell to 3-7 in conference play. Pequot Lakes went 5-5, Staples-Motley finished at 3-7 and Crosby-Ironton posted a 1-9 record in conference games.


Park Rapids 000 000 0…0 2 2

Aitkin 103 112 x…8 7 0

W–Ehnstrom. L–Morris, 1-1.

Park Rapids hitting: Olson (0-2), Lund (0-3), Eischens (0-3), Yliniemi (2-3), Michaelson (0-3), Larson (0-2), K. Burton (0-2), Reichling (0-2), Morris (0-2). SB: Olson 1.

Park Rapids pitching: Morris/Eischens (6ip, 8r, 7h, 2bb, 1hbp, 1k).


Park Rapids 000 000 0…0 3 0

Aitkin 004 000 x…4 7 1

W–Hills. L–Reichling, 2-2.

Park Rapids hitting: Olson (1-3), Lund (1-3), Larson (0-2), Yliniemi (0-3), Eischens (0-3), Torklson (0-2), Michaelson (0-2), Reichling (0-3), Morris (1-2). SB: Olson 1, Lund 1, Larson 1.

Park Rapids pitching: Reichling/Lund (6ip, 4r, 7h, 1bb, 2hbp, 7k).

Yordan Alvarez's 3-run home run was the difference maker

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