Baseball: Park Rapids rallies for dramatic 14-13 win over Fergus Falls
Lucas Kritzeck hits a two-run triple, scores on an error in the bottom of the eighth inning to spark the comeback.
PARK RAPIDS – Lucas Kritzeck sparked a three-run rally in the bottom of the eighth inning that gave the Park Rapids baseball team a dramatic 14-13 victory over Fergus Falls on Thursday, May 18.
With two outs, pinch-hitter Hunter Harrison walked and Noah Morris reached on an error before Kritzeck lined a two-run triple. Kritzeck scored the winning run when Sawyer Torkelson’s fly ball was misplayed as the Panthers prevailed in this battle between Section 8AA teams.
“Fergus Falls was a big win for us,” said Park Rapids head coach Kevin Murphy. “We are currently sitting at the No. 2 seed in the North and getting that section win for us was huge.”
After Fergus Falls jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first on Colin Becker’s three-run homer, Noah Larson reached on an error and Morris walked with both scoring on another error as the Panthers trailed 3-2.
A double by Bo Bring sparked a three-run second as the Otters led 6-2, but Park Rapids put together a two-out rally in the bottom of the inning as a single by Larson, a two-run triple by Morris and an RBI single by Kritzeck made it 6-5.
A double by Griffin Babolian gave Fergus Falls an 8-5 lead in the third before the Panthers took the lead as a single by Parker Hunter and an error cut the gap to 8-7 in the fifth while two errors and a sacrifice fly by Hunter produced a 9-8 lead in the sixth.
A double by Bring sparked a three-run seventh as the Otters claimed an 11-9 lead, but Park Rapids forced extra innings when Morris was hit by a pitch, Kritzeck walked, Torkelson lined a single and Ethan Eischens lined a two-run single.
Two walks and two singles gave Fergus Falls a 13-11 lead in the eighth before the Panthers put together their comeback of the game.
The Panthers had 12 hits with Kritzeck (2 for 5), Torkelson (2 for 4), Eischens (2 for 5) and Mason Yliniemi (2 for 5) leading the way. Morris scored four runs, Larson scored three times, and Kritzeck and Matt Johanning scored two runs each. Eischens earned the win in relief of Johanning and Morris as Park Rapids improved to 3-5 against section opponents and 9-9 overall.
“Defensively we tried our best to hand the game over to Fergus Falls, but every time we got back into the dugout our team reset and went back to work at the plate. I was impressed with how we never gave up, even after digging ourselves into a hole to start the game,” said Murphy. “I'm very proud of how the energy in the dugout remained consistent even with two outs in the bottom of the eighth inning and no one on base. Hunter Harrison gave us a great pinch hit at-bat and walked, Noah Morris hustled out a ground ball, Lucas Kritzeck came up clutch with a triple to right-center, and Sawyer Torkelson punched a ball to right field to win the game - all with two outs. I'm proud of this team and excited to see what we can do come playoff time.”
Fergus Falls 332 000 32…13 14 6
Park Rapids 230 022 23…14 12 4
W–Eischens, 2-0. L–Fronning.