Rilee Michaelson threw a two-hitter and was supported by an 11-hit offensive attack as the Park Rapids fastpitch softball team opened the Section 8AA playoffs with a 7-1 win over Bagley at the Area High School field on Tuesday, May 21.
Michaelson retired the first 15 batters she faced, striking out 10 of the first 12 hitters, as the Panthers built a 7-0 lead.
Michaelson reached on an error in the second inning and courtesy-runner Tarynn Arola scored on Shailyn Pachel's single, a passed ball and Katelyn Weaver's grounder to give Park Rapids a 1-0 lead.
Ellie Ulvin led off the third by reaching on an error and scored on Kendra Coborn's RBI double. Kaisa Coborn followed with an RBI single before singles by Kylee Pachel and Michaelson and a sacrifice fly by Shailyn Pachel gave the Panthers a 5-0 advantage.
Abby Morris singled and scored on Natalie Kinkel's RBI triple in the fourth before Kinkel scored on Kendra Coborn's grounder for a 7-0 lead.
Bagley avoided the shutout when Kaydance Eichstadt walked with one out in the sixth, advanced to third on Gracey Halveron's double and scored on a two-out throwing error.
Kendra Coborn's single in the first, Kaisa Coborn's double in the fourth, and singles by Shailyn Pachel and Morris in the fifth accounted for the other hits for the Panthers, who left the bases loaded in the sixth. Park Rapids received the No. 2 seed in the North half of the section.
Kendra Coborn (2 for 4), Kaisa Coborn (2 for 4), Shailyn Pachel (2 for 3) and Morris (2 for 3) led the Panthers' offense. Michaelson finished with 13 strikeouts as the Panthers improved to 20-1. Bagley, the No. 7 seed in the North, ended the season with an 11-10 record.
In the other opening-round games in the North, No. 1 Thief River Falls defeated No. 8 Crookston 16-1, No. 5 East Grand Forks edged No. 4 Roseau 2-1 and No. 3 Warroad eliminated No. 6 East Polk 15-0. In the South, No. 1 Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton defeated No. 8 Ottertail Central 10-0, No. 2 Hawley eliminated No. 7 Breckenridge 11-0, No. 3 Pequot Lakes shut out No. 6 Barnesville 15-0 and No. 4 Perham defeated No. 5 Wadena-Deer Creek 11-1.
The double-elimination portion of the tournament continued on May 23 with games at Park Rapids and Frazee. The Section 8AA tournament moves to Park Rapids on Tuesday, May 28 with games 4 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. Park Rapids will also host the finals on Thursday, May 30, with games at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. with another game (if necessary) following.
Park Rapids moved up to the No. 5 spot in this week's state Class AA poll with 63 points while Thief River Falls (No. 8 with 34 points) and D-G-F (No. 11 with 16 points) were also listed.
Bagley 000 001 0...1 2 5
Park Rapids 014 200 x...7 11 2
Park Rapids hitting: Kinkel (1-3, 1r, 1rbi), Ke. Coborn (2-4, 1r, 2rbi), Ka. Coborn (2-4, 1r, 1rbi), K. Pachel (1-4, 1r), Michaelson (1-3, 1rbi), S. Pachel (2-3, 1rbi), Weaver (0-2), Morris (2-3, 1r), Ulvin (0-3, 1r), Arola (0-0, 1r), Bera (0-0). 2B: Ke. Cborn 1, Ka. Coborn 1. 3B: Kinkel 1. SB: Morris 1.
Park Rapids pitching: W-Michaelson (7ip, 1r, 0er, 2h, 1bb, 13k).