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Perham Baseball opens with road win over Park Rapids Area

Perham's Jace Kovash lays down a bunt for the Yellowjackets in their 8-4 victory over Park Rapids Area. Vance Carlson/Forum News Service 1 / 2
Perham's Nick Lindberg dives back into third base before Park Rapids Area's Nathan David can slap on the tag. Vance Carlson/Forum News Service2 / 2

The Perham baseball team kicked off the Kyle Van Dyke era with an 8-4 victory over the Park Rapids Area Panthers on April 4 in Park Rapids, Minn.

The Yellowjackets used a pair of big innings to knock off their section rival. The Yellowjackets scored five runs in the third inning and tacked on three more runs in the fourth inning.

Perham head coach Kyle Van Dyke said the team had some nerves and was really happy with how the team played.

“It was a great team effort and a great team win,” Van Dyke said. “Our pitching was outstanding. Park Rapids had to earn everything they got. We didn’t walk anyone throughout the game and had only one hit batter. Our hitting was consistent and that makes us tough.”

Matt Benke earned the win on the mound for the Yellowjackets. He went 3 2/3 innings, allowing four runs on six hits, while striking out five batters.

Matt Benke

“It felt really good for being the first game. My arm felt great and I’m glad the way things turned out,” Benke said of this start on the mound. Benke was quick to credit his defense behind him, saying he feels good with the team backing him when he is on the mound.

While he delivered on the mound, he also delivered at the plate. Benke came up with a bases clearing double in the five run third inning for the Yellowjackets. He finished with a pair of hits with three runs batted in.

Josh Jeziorski brought home a run with a run scoring single, while another run came home on an error in the big inning for the Yellowjackets.

“We were able to get on base and put pressure on their defense with some good bunting, good hitting and good baserunning,” Van Dyke said. “It came back around to all-around good baseball and executing when we had to. We got some big hits with runners on.”

The Yellowjackets tacked on three more runs in the fourth inning, taking an 8-0 lead. Roo Schmitz walked and brought home a run, before Jeziorski delivered for the second time in two innings. Jeziorski drove home two runs with a single to left. Jace Kovash finished with two hits and two runs scored for the Yellowjackets as well.

Park Rapids Area got to Benke in the fourth inning. The Panthers put together four straight hits on their way to scoring their only runs of the game. Sam Eystad drove in a run and finished with three hits for the Panthers while Jason Haas added a pair of hits and an RBI.

Nick Lindberg closed the game out for the Yellowjackets. He went 3 ⅓ innings of shutout baseball. He struck out four batters, while allowing five hits. He escaped a bases loaded jam in the seventh inning by inducing a fly ball and a groundout to end the game.

Nick Lindberg

The Yellowjackets improve to 1-0 overall on the season, while Park Rapids Area falls to 0-1. The Yellowjackets open their home portion of their schedule on Thursday, April 6 with Wadena-Deer Creek at 4:30 p.m. at Krueger Field at Tuffy’s Stadium.

PER 8 9 1

PRK 4 11 3

WP: Matt Benke

LP: Sam Eystad

S: Nick Lindberg

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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