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Gabe Pankonin saunters to home plate while watching a long double by Ivan Nodsle in the first inning of Perham's 12-2 victory over Thief River Falls. Robert Williams/FOCUS

Perfect Pankonin powers Perham past Thief River Falls

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DETROIT LAKES -- The Perham Buzz scored thrice in the first three innings to build a comfortable lead and cruised to a seven-inning, mercy rule-ended 12-2 victory over the Thief River Falls Bandits in opening round play of the District 9, Division I American Legion baseball tournament.

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Gabe Pankonin was a one-man wrecking machine with a perfect day at the plate.

Pankonin was 4-4 with three consecutive doubles in his first three at-bats. He followed those hits up with a deep solo home run over the tall centerfield fence at Washington Park.

Pankonin finished the game with three RBI and three runs scored.

Jesse Hein left the game in the second inning after taking a ball off his shin in his second at-bat. In the short span of playing time, Hein accumulated three RBI.

Jack Stigman was 2-3 with a single, a double, two runs scored and one RBI.

The game was never close. Perham scored in every inning but the seventh after they had built an 11-run lead at 12-1 through six innings complete.

Turner Storm scored for the Bandits in Thief River Falls' last at-bats. Pinch-hitter Evan Dondelinger knocked Storm in with a single after Storm reached on an error.

Rain drizzled in and out during play and got heaviest in the seventh inning.

The error that scored Storm was charged to Perham's shortstop Jordan Hein who would have ended the game with an accurate throw.

The ball whizzed through wet grass on its way to Hein and made making the throw to first base difficult.

The game was delayed 40 minutes with Perham holding a ten-run lead and the Bandits batting with two out and a man on first.

When play resumed, Hein made an acrobatic and ironic final out leaping to nab a line drive off the bat of Landon Sanders near the back of the infield at shortstop.

Dylan Ellingson pitched five strong innings to earn the victory. Ellingson got out of jams in the second and third inning, including a bases-loaded situation in the third with one out.

He allowed one earned run on five hits, walked one and fanned three.

Griffin Helmeke cleaned up the final two innings. He allowed the unearned run in the seventh, two hits and walked one Bandit.

Perham lit up Bandit's starter Nick Hoffard for nine runs, seven earned, on nine hits in 2.2 innings pitched. Hoffard walked two and struck out four.

Eric Brauch hit Perham's first home run of the game, a solo homer to left field in the fourth inning that was gone at the crack of the bat.

Other games:

Fergus Falls defeated East Grand Forks 4-2 to open the tournament. Austin Hanson led all hitters going 4-5, scoring three times.

Tim Rasmussen threw seven innings to get the victory.

Fergus Falls had 13 hits in the game.

Perham and Fergus Falls square off Friday, July 27 at 1 p.m. in Detroit Lakes. The start time was moved up from the original 4 p.m. start.

Tuesday night rainfall delayed all four games originally scheduled for a Wednesday start. Rain was intermittent and replaced with sunshine during the third game today between Crookston and Moorhead.

The forecast for the next two days of the tournament are for mostly sunny skies.

Isolated rain is possible for Sunday's final round.

Follow @eotsports on Twitter for live game updates, pictures and immediate links to stories when posted.

2012 District 9 Division I American Legion Baseball tournament Perham Buzz (Home Run Club #4020) vs. Thief River Falls Bandits (Post 117), Detroit Lakes, Minn. Thursday, July 26.

PER 333 111 0 - 12 12 4

TRF 010 000 1 - 2 7 4

Perham Buzz

AB R H Bi

Jo. Hein 4 2 2 1

Pankonin 4 3 4 3

x-Lindberg. 1 0 0 1

Je. Hein 2 0 1 3

x-Biegler 2 0 0 0

x-Still 1 0 0 0

Brauch 4 2 1 1

x-Sazama 1 0 0 0

Nodsle 5 1 1 1

Laughlin 3 1 1 0

Ruther 3 0 0 0

Stigman 3 2 2 1

Helmeke 2 1 0 0

Totals 35 12 12 11

Pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-k): PER - Ellingson (WP) 5-5-1-1-1-3; Helmeke 2-2-1-0-1-0...TRF: Hoffard (LP) 2.2-9-9-7-2-4; Matter 3.1-3-3-2-2-2; Storm 1-0-0-0-0-0.

Thief River Falls Bandits

AB R H Bi

Storm 4 1 2 0

Lund 3 0 0 0

x-Dondelin. 1 0 1 1

Sanders 4 0 1 0

Hansen 2 1 0 0

Wheeler 3 0 0 0

Nelson 3 0 3 1

Matter 3 0 0 0

Schaefer 3 0 0 0

Brooks. 3 0 0 0

Totals 29 2 7 2

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Robert Williams
Robert has been the Sports Editor for the Focus since 2010 covering multiple state and national championship teams and is a mainstay at state tournaments each season covering the successful, athletic programs of Perham and New York Mills High Schools.
(218) 346-5900 x223
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