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Yellowjackets earn split with late rally

Junior Dylan Kruzel is off to a hot start at the plate this season batting over .600 through four games. Robert Williams/FOCUS

PERHAM — A three-run extra inning rally spared Perham from a sweep at the hands of Mid-State Conference foe Park Rapids Friday afternoon at Al Krueger Field.

Both games were one-run affairs with scoring barrages late in each game.

Park Rapids won game one 9-8, while the nightcap went to an extra eighth inning tied 3-3.

Jon Burlingame launched a two-run homer off of Dylan Kruzel that hit the scoreboard in right field scoring Derek Porozinski to give Park Rapids a 5-3 lead.

Perham loaded the bases with one out in the bottom half on three singles by Josh Still, Austin Erickson and Jaden Meyer.

Kruzel singled to left to tie the game at five scoring Still and Erickson.

Alex Tostenson, running for Meyer, advanced to second base on Kruzel’s hit and took third on a walk to Mason Malikowski to load the bases.

Perham head coach Hans Hanson pinch hit Hayden Sturdevant for Jake Lueders and Sturdevant came through with a game-winning line drive over the third baseman to score Tostenson.

Still pitched seven complete innings allowing three earned runs on seven hits. Kruzel earned the victory in relief.

Jordan McCollum pitched five innings for the Panthers allowing two earned runs on six hits in a no-decision. Rilee Johnson took the loss in three innings of work.

Meyer was 2-5 at the plate with a pair of RBI on a third inning single that tied the game at two.

Park Rapids got off quick in the first scoring twice on four singles off of Still.

Rilee Johnson gave the Panthers a 3-2 lead in the top of the sixth scoring on a fielder’s choice up the middle that eluded the outstretched glove of Still on the mound scored 1-4-3 with the RBI going to Burlingame on the putout.

Perham answered in the bottom of the sixth on an error in left field. Park Rapids challenged the call that an out was made but the ruling was the ball was dropped.

Pirrotta singled, was sacrificed to second on a bunt by Tanner Carlson. Still received an intentional walk and Erickson lined the shot to left field that scored Pirrotta.

In the opener, 13 of the games 17 runs were scored in the final two innings.

Park Rapids scored six of their nine runs in the final two frames, including a five-run seventh to go up 9-5. Perham rallied for three runs in the bottom half but fell short by a run.

Kruzel jacked two homers in the game, including a two-run shot in the seventh.

Still was 5-7 on the day. Kruzel had a big day at the plate going 6-8 with two homers and five RBI.

Both teams sit atop the Mid-State Conference at 3-1. Perham is leading the conference in scoring after four games averaging 9.5 runs per game.

Kruzel is off to a blistering start at the plate this season. Through four games, the junior is batting .636, 7-11, two home runs, six RBI, four runs scored with a team-high slugging percentage of 1.181 and an OPS of 1.874.

Still is hitting .692 going 9-13, three doubles, with four runs scored and a team-high seven RBI.

Mason Malikowski is hitting .625, 5-8, four runs and four RBI.

The pitching staff has victories from three different hurlers: Mulcahy, Alec Meyer and Kruzel.

An earlier version of this story had incorrect statistics listed.

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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