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Perham 2-2 at State Babe Ruth Tournament

Nick Winkels scores a run in a win over Dassel-Cokato at the state Babe Ruth tournament.1 / 2
Dylan Kruzel threw a complete game for the win over Dassel-Cokato. He also scored twice to lead the team at the plate.2 / 2

The Perham Babe Ruth team got off to a hot start with two wins, but met a streaking NY Mills team and a hefty-slugging Minnetonka team getting bounced out in the quarterfinals.

At Krueger Field, in the opening round, Abe Bickell led off the sixth inning with a double and scored the game winner on a base hit by Adam Altstadt in the 3-2 win over Fergus Falls.

Ryan DeConcini pitched a complete game for the win. He struck out five batters.

"Ryan pitched his best game of the year when we needed him most," said Head Coach Tyler Soderstrom. "He threw strikes and our defense backed him up. Abe Bickel and Adam Alstadt were the offensive heroes coming up with a couple clutch hits."

Perham moved on and won a close battle with a tough Dassel-Cokato squad 4-3.

Dylan Kruzel was the star on the mound, scattering seven hits and allowing three runs, one earned, in a complete game for the win. Kruzel also scored twice to help his own cause.

"Dylan showed why he's the staff ace by shutting down a very good Dassel (the eventual state tournament runner-up) offense for seven innings," said Soderstrom.

DeConcini scored and Cole Schmitz plated the winning run in the fifth on a past ball.

The New York Mills game was nip and tuck and tied at three in the early innings before the Mills offense kicked into high gear and Damon Tumberg held Perham at bay pitching the final two innings.

"New York Mills played better as a team in every aspect of the game. This was a game we didn't deserve to win," Soderstrom said.

The loss sent Perham to an early Saturday match-up with Minnetonka where the local boys' tournament ended in a 18-4 defeat.

Minnetonka came out with big bats early and often sending 16 batters to the plate in the third inning. The third inning made all the difference. Up to that point it was a manageable 3-1 Minnetonka lead at the end of two innings.

Jesse Bucholz had the highest batting average on the team hitting .513 for the season. (40 hits in 78 at bats) Bucholz also struck out only once in his 84 plate appearances.

Dylan Kruzel led what was a very deep pitching staff for the Perham team. Kruzel had a 7-1 record on the season with a 1.84 ERA.

The team had a batting average of .379 while the Perham pitchers held opponents to a batting average of just .202 and Perham outscored their opponents 272 to 127 on the season.

"This is a great group of very coach-able baseball players. The group has a lot of talent; they listen well, and are willing to work to get better. As long as the group sticks together and the players, as well as their parents, keep putting the goals of the team in front of their individual goals, this group will continue to see a lot of success on the ball field."

Robert Williams

Sports Editor at the Detroit Lakes Tribune. Williams worked prior as the Sports Editor in Perham for the Focus, a Forum Communications newspaper, from 2010-14. 

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