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Mid-State baseball: Lakers and Perham split one-run games

Austin Erickson no-hit the Lakers through six innings and pitched out of a jam in the seventh to earn his first victory of the season. Robert Williams/FOCUS

PERHAM — Detroit Lakes and No. 14-2A Perham (2-2) sparred with punches of dominant pitching in a split between the two teams in a Mid-State Conference baseball doubleheader here Thursday afternoon.

Both games were one-run affairs. Detroit Lakes won the opener 3-2 behind a combined one-hitter thrown by starter AJ Matter and reliever Ryan Cihak.

Perham took the nightcap 4-3 in a game Perham starter Austin Erickson took a no-hitter into the seventh inning.

The Lakers got to Erickson for three runs and three doubles in the final frame but stranded the tying run in scoring position. The loss snapped a four-game winning streak for the Lakers (4-2).

Perham manufactured runs in all three even-numbered innings, one in the second, one in the fourth and two in the sixth.

CJ Mulcahy scored the game-winner on a Jaden Meyer base hit to cap Perham’s two-run sixth inning clincher.

A Joey Lindberg single scored Erickson for Perham’s first tally on the board in the second inning. Lindberg scored Perham’s second run in the fourth on a balk and wild pitch after reaching base with a double.

Erickson’s winning pitching line was a complete game seven innings pitched, allowing three earned runs on three hits. He struck out seven Laker batters and walked a pair.

Erickson’s effort on the mound was all the more impressive as both games were played in temperatures recorded in the 30s above zero with an stinging breeze.

Still and Lindberg each had a pair of hits to lead the Yellowjackets at the plate.

Ryan Cihak took the loss in an inning of relief giving up both sixth inning runs while in relief of Eiter. Eiter allowed a pair of earned runs on eight hits in five innings of work. He walked and fanned five Yellowjackets.

Detroit Lakes 3, Perham 2 - Game 1

The Lakers took an early 1-0 lead in the third inning of the opener and took advantage of a miscued fifth inning to score the game-winner.

Kirk McLeod drew an inning-opening walk from JT Laughlin, appearing in relief of starter Eric Brauch. McLeod stole second base and advanced to third after leaping out of the way of an Eiter groundout to Erickson at shortstop.

Matter grounded to Luke Sailer at second base with McLeod halfway down the line to home from third base. McLeod’s bluff drew a throw from Sailer to the third base bag that was late to the glove of Jack Stigman. Matter took first on the fielder’s choice and stole second base on the play at third.

Richie Grossman singled in McLeod and Matter scored the game-winner on a past ball.

Laughlin worked his way out of sixth inning jam when he forced Eiter to pop out to short to kill a two-out rally with two runners in scoring position.

Perham answered in the bottom of the fifth when Laughlin drea a walk with the bases jammed and Stigman scored on an Erickson sacrifce fly.

Perham loaded the bases in the sixth with the help of a miscue from the Lakers’ defense.

Griffin Helmeke walked with one away and advanced to third base on a routine double-play ball hit off the bat of Josh Still that was booted at shortstop. The throw to first got away moving Helmeke to third and Still to second.

Cihak gave an intentional pass to Mulcahy loading the bases with two out for Brauch, Perham’s clean-up hitter.

Brauch worked a 3-0 count before taking a strike. On the ensuing pitch, Cihak induced a foul ball behind the plate that was nabbed by catcher McLeod to end the threat. Cihak retired the Jackets in order in the seventh to earn the save and preserve the victory for Matter.

Through four games in a week where Perham will play a third doubleheader Saturday morning at Pequot Lakes, four Yellowjackets have proven to be off to hot starts in cold temps at the plate.

Leadoff hitter Josh Still has been a source of run production batting .417 with team highs in doubles and homers with two each, while leading Perham with five runs scored. Still has five hits in 12 plate appearances.

Eric Brauch leads in runs batted in with five, all of which game in one game versus Staples, with a grand slam and sacrifice to deep centerfield. Perham ended that game early up 15-5 after six complete innings to notch their first win of the season.

Joey Lindberg and CJ Mulcahy are both batting .500. Lindberg is 3-6 with a single, double and home run. He has scored twice and is second among all batters with four RBIs.

Mulcahy is an impressive 6-12 hitting for contact. He has collected five singles and a double.

Erickson’s Thursday effort has him atop the stat chart for Perham pitching with an ERA of 2.00, a record of 1-0 with a team-high seven strikeouts. Mulcahy has the other Perham pitching victory.

Perham has lost the opener of both doubleheaders and come back to even the series in the nightcap.

Park Rapids holds an early lead in the conference standings at 4-0. Detroit Lakes and Staples-Motley are tied for second at 4-2. Perham is alone in fourth with an even mark of 2-2.

The Panthers are 6-0 overall and will face both Perham and Staples-Motley in doubleheaders next week. Wadena-Deer Creek (0-2, 1-2), Crosby-Ironton (0-4, 0-4)  and Pequot Lakes (0-2, 0-4) are all winless in the early week of conference play.

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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