The Perham 14-15 Year Old Babe Ruth team took first place in the Timberline League Tournament this past week, earning them one of the top seeds in the upcoming District Tournament.
Perham, which entered the tournament as the number five seed, opened up tournament play against number four seeded New York Mills.
Perham scored early and often to cruise to a 13-5 victory setting the stage for a second-round game against the top seed, Bertha-Hewitt-Verndale.
Bertha led 1-0 until the bottom of the third when Nathan Currier and Chase Curtis led off with back-to-back singles. A Chandler Rach sacrifice bunt moved the runners to second and third base before Dylan Perrine knocked in the tying run with an RBI single.
The score remained 1-1 as Perham's Mason Malikowski and Bertha's Preston Riewer traded scoreless innings until the sixth inning when Cole Carignan, pinch running after a walk to Jesse Bucholz, went on the pitch as Dylan Kruzel sent a two-strike pitch deep to the left field corner. Carignan came all the way around to score on the double, putting Perham up 2-1. Lane Stenson singled and stole second to put runners on second and third and Alex Tostenson provided some much needed insurance with a two-run single to put Perham up 4-1.
Malikowski was stellar on the mound, striking out ten and allowing just three hits and one unearned run in the seven inning complete game victory.
Next up for Perham was Park Rapids, the two seed in the tournament. Perham got another excellent showing on the mound, this time from Patrick Murphy, but failed to get the offense going until Chase Curtis led off the fifth inning with a walk, stole second, and scored on a Dylan Perrine single. Perham picked up one insurance run in the seventh inning when Curtis executed a perfect suicide squeeze with Nathan Currier charging hard from third base.
Two runs was more than enough for Murphy, who earned the win by pitching a three-hit shutout and allowing just one free base.
Park Rapids dropped down to the loser's bracket but defeated Bertha to earn a spot in the championship game against Perham. Since Perham had not yet lost in the tournament, Park Rapids would have to defeat them twice to win the league title
Perham quickly gave away any momentum they had as the only undefeated team left in the tournament by committing a half dozen errors in the first two innings of the game to spot Park Rapids a 6-0 lead. Perham fought back and managed to tie the game at 9-9 after seven innings of play to force extra innings, but lost it in the bottom of the ninth after stranding a combined eight runners during the final three innings of play.
With one loss apiece, the winner of the tournament would have to be decided with a second championship game. However, with darkness quickly falling on the unlighted Park Rapids field, the coaches agreed to a shortened four-inning game to decide the winner rather than trying to schedule the rematch for another day.
Perham held a slim 1-0 lead until the fourth inning when a bases-loaded triple by Dylan Perrine put the game out of reach. Perham won the game 6-0, earning them the Timberline League Championship.
Perrine, who gave up just one unearned run in three innings of relief during Perham's first game Friday, stayed on the mound to pitch the entire second game. Perrine gave up no runs in the second game and had excellent control giving out no free passes during his seven innings of work on the day.
The victory gave Perham the #1 seed out of the Timberline League at the upcoming District II Tournament hosted in Perham.
Perham will take on Clearbrook-Gonvick, the #4 seed out of the Bemidji Area League, to open up tournament play today at 10 a.m at Krueger Field.