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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.
Andrew Lachowitzer and Corey Hill couldn't have asked for better results from the outdoor opener for the Park Rapids track and field teams at Vern Weekley Field on Tuesday, April 16. Not only did the meet feature ideal weather conditions, but the host Panthers swept the team titles at the Park Rapids Invitational. Lachowitzer's boys team used five winning performances and four runner-up efforts to run away with the title with 157 points. Osakis was a distant second with 94 points in the 13-team field.
Head coach Bill Dent is emphasizing patience as the Nevis baseball team looks to replace several players from last season. Six senior starters graduated from last year's team that won the Northland Conference title with an 11-0 record, advanced to the Section 5A semifinals and finished with an 18-4 overall record. In addition to the loss due to graduation, three other letterwinners decided to go out for different sports this spring.
The Menahga girls basketball team made school history by qualifying for the state Class A tournament for the first time last season. With several key players returning, head coach Cody Pulju was expecting the Braves to put together another historic season this year.
The Menahga fastpitch softball team will be entering a rebuilding season as Lindsey White enters her first full season as head coach. Leading the Braves this spring will be seniors Jamie Erno (pitcher), Madi Marjamaa (catcher) and Alyssa Peterson (outfielder); juniors Jessica Pietila (infielder) and Rena Pinoniemi (outfielder); sophomores Jadeyn Dissmore (infielder) and Rachel Marjamaa (pitcher); freshmen Amanda Lake (infielder), Allie Pfeifer (catcher), Lela Peterson (outfielder) and Maryn Pinoniemi (infielder); and seventh grader Alli Anderson (infielder).
Over the last three seasons, the Park Rapids fastpitch softball team has been one best Class AA teams in the state during the regular season. The Panthers have posted a 24-2 record in winning three straight Mid-State Conference titles while going 66-9 overall. Unfortunately, six of those losses have occurred during the Section 8AA playoffs. With seven starters returning, head coach Marion Goeden is once again counting on the Panthers to contend for conference and section titles.
A veteran lineup returns hoping to lead the Nevis softball team to another successful season. Six seniors and five juniors will provide the leadership as the Tigers look to improve on a 4-4 Upper Mississippi Conference and 11-7 overall record.
New York Mills rallied from an early 6-1 deficit for a 12-8 Park Region Conference victory over the Menahga baseball team in the season opener at New York Mills on Tuesday, April 9. After New York Mills took a 1-0 lead in the first inning, the Braves responded by scoring six times in the second. A lead-off walk to Thomas Litzau, an RBI single by Ivan Anderson, a walk to Charlie Hodge, an RBI single by Brock Kako, a two-run double by Lars Keranen, an RBI single by Nolan Haataja, a single by Eddie Salmen and an RBI single by Corey Haataja sparked that inning.
With six seniors returning to the starting lineup, head coach Dan Etter is expecting another successful season from the Park Rapids baseball team. Returning to lead the Panthers from last year's team that finished second in the Mid-State Conference standings with a 7-3 record and posted a 13-8 overall mark are seniors Gabe Bagstad, Lucas Dickinson, Cameron Hoyt, Ty Karger, Brendan Kruchowski and Tristin Persons. Kruchowski and Persons received all-conference honors last season with Persons being named the team's Most Valuable Player.
With 24 returning letterwinners and several other athletes being counted on to score points, head coach Andrew Lachowitzer is counting on a successful season from the Park Rapids boys track and field team. Of that group, 15 competed at the Section 8A meet last spring as the Panthers tied for 10th place with 31 points while another nine helped Park Rapids compile 171 points to win the Subsection 8-29A title for the seventh time in the last eight years. The Panthers also placed sixth at the Section 8AA True Team meet and second at the Mid-State Conference meet.