Baseball: Park Rapids rebounds to earn a split against Pequot Lakes

The Panthers follow an 18-1 loss with a 5-2 victory in a Mid-State Conference doubleheader.

Matt Johanning safely dives back to first base on a pickoff attempt during Park Rapids' Mid-State Conference game against Pequot Lakes on May 2, 2023.<br/>
Vance Carlson / Park Rapids Enterprise

PARK RAPIDS – Matt Johanning pitched the Park Rapids baseball team to a Mid-State Conference doubleheader split against Pequot Lakes on May 2.

After Pequot Lakes won the opener 18-1, the Panthers salvaged the split with a 5-2 victory in the second game.

Noah Morris reached on an error and scored on an error to give the Panthers a 1-0 lead in the first inning of the opener. Park Rapids threatened but didn’t score in the third despite singles by Sawyer Torkelson, Ethan Eischens and Mason Yliniemi. A nine-run seventh inning sealed the win for the Patriots.

Noah Larson started and took the loss.

Sawyer Torkelson dives back to first base on a pickoff play during Park Rapids' Mid-State Conference doubleheader against Pequot Lakes on May 2, 2023.
Vance Carlson / Park Rapids Enterprise

Johanning scattered six hits in leading the Panthers to the split in the second game.


Morris walked and scored in the first while walks to Morris and Larson, a single by Torkelson and an error gave the Panthers a 3-0 lead in the third. A single by Yliniemi and two errors led to another run in the fifth while a single by Morris and a double by Ethan Eischens concluded the scoring in the sixth.

The split gave the Panthers a 4-4 record in the conference while Pequot Lakes is now 5-1 in Mid-State play and 6-1 overall.

“I'm really proud of how our team rebounded after losing the first game by a lot of runs. Because we had four games in a 24-hour period, we had to be aware of the pitch count and let our pitchers try to work out of difficult spots. Under more typical circumstances we would have treated our pitching differently, but our guys understood what they needed to do and eat up innings for us,” said Park Rapids head coach Kevin Murphy. “We had some great leadership from our upperclassmen who led us back in Game 2 and Matt pitched a great game against a good hitting team in Pequot Lakes. Very proud of the boys for that win.”

Game 1

Pequot Lakes 013 320 9…18 14 4

Park Rapids 100 000 0…1 5 2

W–Nelson. L–Larson, 1-2.

Game 2

Pequot Lakes 000 200 0…2 6 4

Park Rapids 102 011 x…5 4 1

W–Johanning, 2-0. L–Loge.

Panthers drop pair at BSU

BEMIDJI – Thief River Falls and East Grand Forks defeated the Panthers in a pair of Section 8AA games at Bemidji State University on May 3.

Thief River Falls prevailed 9-4 in the first game while East Grand Forks followed with a 10-3 victory in the second game.

A double by Yliniemi and a sacrifice fly by Johanning gave the Panthers a 1-0 lead in the second while Morris singled and scored to make it 2-2 in the third. Jackson Soderberg and Morris singled and scored in the ninth to conclude the scoring. Torkelson was the losing pitcher.

Park Rapids led 2-1 behind singles by Yliniemi, Larson and Lucas Kritzeck in the second before EGF rallied for the win.

A walk to Yliniemi and a single by Johanning led to the Panthers' other run in the fourth.


Yliniemi went 3 for 3 while Larson, Johanning and Kritzeck had two hits each to lead Park Rapids’ 11-hit attack. DJ Reichling took the loss as the Panthers fell to 5-6.

“We played two tough teams from our subsection and we just underperformed that day,” said Murphy. “We have been doing a great job executing the little things – getting bunts down, taking extra bases, minimizing our mistakes and capitalizing on the other teams' mistakes. Unfortunately we just didn't execute those little things against two very good teams.”

Park Rapids 011 000 2…4 7 6

Thief River Falls 024 300 x…9 12 1

L–Torkelson, 1-2.

East Grand Forks 100 332 1…10 13 1

Park Rapids 020 100 0…3 11 0

L–Reichling, 0-2.

1982 Dawson-Boyd High School graduate
1987 Moorhead State University graduate
Sports reporter for Park Rapids Enterprise since 1987
What To Read Next
Get Local