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Kalina’s single caps off comeback for Perham

Perham assistant coach T.J. Super and Noah Rooney congratulate Ryan Kalina on his game-winning hit against Warroad in Perham's 11-10 victory over the Warriors. Submitted photo 1 / 2
Perham's Elias Hoffman connects with a pitch against Warroad. Hoffman finished the two games with six hits and reached base nine straight times. Submitted photo2 / 2

The Perham Yellowjackets have been dubbed the comeback kids by many in the Perham Area and they needed one more to keep their season alive against the Warroad Warriors. Ryan Kalina’s single to left field gave the Yellowjackets a 10-9 victory, forcing a winner take all Section 8AA Championship game on Friday.

Kalina had a plan of attack as he approached his at bat against Logan Wilmer with the bases loaded in the eighth inning.

“I wanted to see as many pitches as I could and let the pitcher do his thing,” Kalina said. “At the end, I wanted the defense to do what it was meant to do. We kept fighting and put in a good win. I thought it was going to get caught at first. When I saw the ball drop, the weight went off of my shoulders and realized we get to play tomorrow and keep the season rolling.”

Kalina said the team has a simple mindset when they fall behind and that’s taking it one pitch at a time, one run at a time.

“It’s a great mentality and everyone of these kids are great hitters,” Kalina said. “When we fall behind on teams, we seem to come back and win, which is great about this team.”

Coming from behind hasn’t been an issue for the Yellowjackets all season long. In fact, they have rallied from behind in four of their five playoff wins, including the victory over Warroad. They trailed by deficits of 6-1, 9-5 and 10-9, before pulling out the win.

“They battle all the way through and never have any doubt,” Perham head coach Kyle Van Dyke said. “They have faith in themselves and their teammates. They are just competitors. They go the whole way and they don’t stop. They clawed and clawed and finally got the game-winning hit at the in.”

Eighth grader Noah Rooney earned the win on the mound for the Yellowjackets. He shut down a potent lineup for four innings, yielding just two runs on five hits. He struck out three batters as well.

“He stopped a surging Warroad offense. They were starting to roll and Noah came in. We played some shaky defense behind them, but he attacked them,” Van Dyke said. “He just did a fantastic job.”

Elias Hoffman continued his strong day at the plate. He finished with three hits and two runs batted in for Perham. He has reached base nine straight times. He has six singles and three walks during that stretch for Perham.

“Elias is swinging a hot bat at the right time and so are a lot of other guys,” Van Dyke said. “I’m proud of Elias and our team for the way they are swinging the bats. They have great approaches, whether they are up in the count or down in the count. They are listening to the coaching and doing a fantastic job right now.”

The Warriors jumped ahead after Perham grabbed the lead in the second inning. Brennan Foster keyed the inning with a two run single, it sparked a six-run inning for Warroad.

However, the Yellowjackets rallied with two of their own in the third with two-run double by Nick Lindberg.

But, the powerful Warroad offense continued to build on its lead. They added two more runs in the fourth and another in the fifth.

Perham rallied back with a pair of runs in the fifth and sixth innings, tying the game at nine. Josh Jeziorski’s two-run single in the sixth tied the game at nine.

Warroad took the lead in the eighth with an RBI single by Logan Wilmer, scoring Kip Knutson, making it 10-9.

Nick Lindberg’s RBI double tied the game at 10. It was his second double of the game and third RBI of the game. After a pop fly to the catcher, a walk to Hoffman loaded the bases for Kalina. He followed by dropping a single into short left field, giving Perham the walk-off, 11-10 win.

Ty Moser, Lindberg and Hoffman finished with three hits each for Perham. Roo Schmitz added a pair of hits, while Jeziorski, Kalina and Dawson Stevens each had a hit.

Logan Wilmer led the way for Warroad at the plate. He finished with four hits, while Keaton Hoffman, Foster and Kip Knutson finished with two hits each for the Warriors.

The Yellowjackets improve to 19-7 overall on the season, while the Warriors move to 18-6. The two teams will square off at 1 p.m. at Krueger Field on June 9 in a winner-take-all championship for the Section 8AA crown.

DGF 4

Perham 5

The Perham Yellowjackets extended their season when Connor Breitenfeldt drove in the game winning run with a single through a drawn in infield, lifting Perham to a 5-4 victory over Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton in a Section 8AA elimination game in Perham.

Breitenfeldt earned his second win on the mound over the Rebels in the 8AA playoffs and it was the fourth overall victory for Perham over the Rebels.

Elias Hoffman led the charge at the plate for the Yellowjackets. He had three hits and a run batted in. Ty Moser, Jace Kovash and Josh Jeziorski finished with a pair of hits for the Yellowjackets in the win.

Breitenfeldt’s RBI single spoiled DGF’s comeback bid and hopes for an upset. The Rebels trailed the Yellowjackets 4-1 after two innings, before chipping away and tying the game at four in the fourth inning.

Jeziorski and Hoffman gave the Yellowjackets the lead with a pair of RBI hits. They capitalized on an error as well.

After DGF cut into the lead with a run in the second inning, Perham answered with a run on an RBI groundout by Kovash..

Nathan Leitner delivered an RBI single for the Rebels in the third, making it 4-2. Carter Kohler tied the game with a two run single in the fourth, evening the game at four.

Both Kohler and Breitenfeldt posted zeroes in the middle innings, until the Yellowjackets broke through in the seventh.

Breitenfeldt picked up the win, allowing four runs on seven hits. He struck out six batters, walking three and hitting two in the win.

Kohler suffered the loss for the Rebels. He allowed five runs on 10 hits in six plus innings of work.

DGF ended their season with a 14-8 record overall.

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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