It didn’t take the Park Rapids fastpitch softball team long to adjust to live pitching.
After going down in order in the first three innings, the Panthers used five hits to spark a four-run fourth inning in the season opener at Frazee on Thursday, April 18. Park Rapids followed by belting out four extra-base hits during a three-run seventh inning to seal an 8-2 victory.
The season opener marked the Panthers’ first time outdoors after having games against Perham and Pequot Lakes and a home tournament postponed.
Frazee took a 1-0 lead in the first inning as a walk, error and wild pitch led to an unearned run before the Panthers took the lead in the fourth. Natalie Kinkel led off with an infield single and stole second base. Shailyn Pachel followed with an RBI single before Kylee Pachel was safe on a fielder’s choice grounder. Rilee Michaleson’s RBI single made it 2-1 before Katelyn Weaver’s infield single loaded the bases with no outs. Cassidy Bera’s infield single with two outs plated another run before an error on the play gave the Panthers a 4-1 advantage.
Kinkel led off the fifth inning with a double and scored on Shailyn Pachel’s grounder to first for a 5-1 lead.
Two walks and a single produced Frazee’s other run in the sixth before Park Rapids sealed the win in the seventh on consecutive one-out doubles by Kinkel, Shailyn Pachel and Kylee Pachel. Michaelson’s sacrifice fly concluded the scoring. Weaver followed with a triple, but was left stranded on base.
Michaelson went the distance for the win while Ellie Ulvin’s two-out single in the sixth rounded out the Panthers’ 10-hit offensive attack.