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Head Coach Evan Meece congratulates Gabe Pankonin on his game winning home run that propelled the upstart Perham VFW Stingers over their crosstown Legion foes, the Perham Buzz.

Cross-town rivals battle it out for Wood Bat Tourney title

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Cross-town rivals battle it out for Wood Bat Tourney title
Perham Minnesota 222 2nd Avenue SE 56573

The young pups took one from the older guys in an exciting 3-2 finale of the Wood Bat Baseball Tournament Sunday afternoon.

"I could tell that going into this game, my guys were determined to win it," Stingers Coach Evan Meece said. "You could see it in their eyes and in their attitudes that they wanted more than anything to beat the Legion team."

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Catcher Gabe Pankonin jacked a 3-1 TJ Studer pitch over the left field fence in the bottom half of the sixth inning to propel the VFW Stingers to victory over their older foes, the Legion Buzz.

Pankonin was 2-3 with two stolen bases and two runs to go along with his solo jack.

Perhaps a bit over-confident early, a Buzz rally was killed in the first inning when Gavin Beigler was gunned down trying to steal home stranding Brad Ellingson on second.

The Stingers answered in the bottom half of the opening inning when Jesse Hein's double plated Pankonin. The run stole the momentum in a game where runs were at a premium.

A Taylor Doll gapper to right center tied the game at one in the third as David Stoll came around to score after reaching base on a hit-by-pitch.

The tie would not last long as the Stingers answered in the fourth. Jordan Hein bunted safely to first and reached third on a two-base error as Studer's pick-off attempt got past the glove of first baseman John Langlie.

Eric Brach would knock Hein home with an RBI fielder's choice to second base for a tight 2-1 lead.

Buzz second baseman Jake Kalina started a fifth inning rally with a single, moving to second on a nice sacrifice from Stoll and reaching third base on a past ball. He would score on a throwing error from center to second base on a fly out by Stoll knotting the game at two.

The game became more intense as the crowd got into the game. Former teammates from the high school season, brothers and ardent fans in the stands stood on opposing sides of a game already storied as youth versus experience.

"Before the game, I told them, we have nothing to lose, so leave it all on the field and they did just that," Meece said. "They played a nearly flawless game in all aspects: stellar defense, great pitching, good at-bats. I'm proud of these guys for the determination they brought into this game and the way they went after the Legion right away."

Pankonin went after Studer's 3-1 hitter's pitch causing the Stinger team to leap off the bench and whoop it up after seeing his homer land with victory seeming close at hand.

Meece handed the ball to lanky reliever Mark Schumacher who fanned two and did not allow a base runner in two innings of flawless relief to seal the win.

Jesse Hein's solid start kept the Buzz in check. He allowed four hits in four innings of work, beaned two, walked one, struck out five and allowed two runs.

Studer kept pace striking out two, walking three, scattering five hits and plunking two Stinger batters in four innings of work. David Altstadt was effective in relief, striking out two and allowing two hits in two innings of relief.

Perham Buzz/Stingers results

Legion Buzz at VFW Stingers, Wood Bat Tourney Championship, Al Krueger Field, Sunday, June 20.

LEG 001 010 0 - 2 4 1

VFW 100 110 x - 3 7 1

Legion Buzz

AB R H Bi

Beigler 2 0 1 0

Doll 3 0 1 1

Ellingson 3 0 1 0

Langlie 3 0 0 0

Lynne 2 0 0 0

Brill 3 0 0 0

Stafki 3 0 0 0

Kalina 3 0 1 0

Stoll 0 1 0 0

x-Still 1 1 0 0

Totals 23 2 4 1

VFW Stingers

AB R H Bi

Haverland 4 0 1 0

Pankonin 3 2 2 1

Ruther 1 0 0 0

Hein, Je. 3 0 2 1

Hein, Jo. 2 1 1 0

Brauch 3 0 0 1

Laughlin 2 0 0 0

Beigler 1 0 0 0

x-Schumac 1 0 0 0

Ellingson 3 0 1 0

Totals 25 3 7 3

Pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-k): LEG - Studer 4-5-3-2-3-2; Altstadt 2-2-0-0-0-2; ...VFW: Hein, Je. 5-4-2-1-1-4; Schumacher 2-0-0-0-0-2.

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Robert Williams
Robert is the Sports Editor of Detroit Lakes Newspapers. Williams worked prior as the Sports Editor in Perham for the Focus, a Forum Communications newspaper, from 2010-14. 
(218) 844-1442
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