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Park Rapids Area spoils Perham’s home opener

Park Rapids Area's Riley Michaelson dives back to third before Perham's Erin Winter can apply the tag in the second inning of Park Rapids Area's 11-1 victory over Perham. Jason Groth/FOCUS1 / 2
Perham's Mattie Scheidecker scoops up the ground ball in the first inning against Park Rapids Area. Jason Groth/FOCUS2 / 2

Perham softball head coach Tyler Doll knew his team would need to score a lot of runs if it wanted to beat the Park Rapids Area Panthers on April 4 at Arvig Park. However, Panther pitcher Brooke Jerger made sure that didn’t happen when she shut down the Yellowjackets, helping the Panthers to an 11-1 season opening win.

Jerger scattered four hits while allowing one run. She struck out eight and did not walk a batter. She started strong, striking out five of the six batters she faced to start the game. Perham’s Erin Winter drove in the lone run for the Yellowjackets with an RBI double in the third inning.

Brooke Jerger

However, the Panthers had already staked Jerger to a seven run lead when the Yellowjackets struck for their lone run. The Panthers capitalized on Perham miscues, plating three runs in the first and four in the second. They answered the Perham run with four in the top of the fourth, securing the victory.

Natalie Kinkel, Kendra Coborn and Riley Michaelson led the way with two hits each for the Panthers. Jerger and Mackenzie Warne drove in two runs each as well.

Park Rapids Area jumped ahead with three runs in the first capitalizing on three walks and an error. A bases loaded walk to Tara Johanning brought in the game’s first run, but a costly error on a toss to third allowed a pair of runs to score, giving Park Rapids Area the 3-0 lead.

Jerger and Kyle Pachel brought home a pair of runs in the second inning, while another came around to score on a wild pitch and a Perham error, making it 7-0.

The Yellowjackets put together a small rally in the seventh inning. Mattie Scheidecker laced a single to left and moved to second on a single by Emma Bowers. After a strikeout, Erin Winter delivered an RBI double, bringing home Scheidecker for the first run of the game for the Yellowjackets. Yet, Jerger settled in and induced a fly ball to center to end the threat.

Park Rapids Area answered with a big fourth inning. Jerger doubled home a run and came around to score when Warne took an offering over the fence in center field. Mercedez Bellanger capped off the scoring with a solo home run of her own.

Mara Leslie suffered the loss for Perham. She went two innings, allowing seven runs on four hits. She walked three and struck out two. Katie Zepper pitched three innings of relief, allowing four runs on six hits. She struck out two and walked two.

Scheidecker, Bowers, Winter and Grace Minten had the lone hits in the game for Perham.

The Yellowjackets fall to 0-1, while Park Rapids Area moves to 1-0 to kick off the season. The Yellowjackets will be home on Thursday, April 6 when they host Osakis at 4:30 p.m. at Arvig Park.

PRK 3 4 0 4 0 11 10 2

PER 0 0 1 0 0 1 4 2

WP-Brooke Jerger

LP-Mara Leslie

HR: Mackenzie Warne, Mercedez Bellanger

Jason Groth

 Groth is a Minnesota Newspaper Association award-winning Sports Editor of the Perham Focus and the Wadena Pioneer Journal. Groth worked in Grand Rapids as the Sports Director at KOZY/KMFY radio for two years and prior to that he was the Sports Editor/Writer for the Grand Rapids Herald-Review for seven years. 

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