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Perham falters, Fergus Falls rallies for second round win

Drew Pearson is congratulated by the Fergus Falls bench after taking a 7-6 lead on a double steal in the eighth inning. Robert Williams/FOCUS

PERHAM — No. 7 Fergus Falls used two big innings and error-free defense to upend No. 3 Perham 10-8 in championship quarterfinal play at the Minnesota Sub State 14 American Legion baseball tournament at Krueger Field.

It was the second upset in two days for Fergus Falls, who dumped No. 2 seeded Thief River Falls 8-5 in the opening round.

Perham jumped out to a 5-0 lead on four RBIs by Tristan Hammans. Hammans hit a two-out single to score Josh Still in the first inning for a 1-0 lead.

Hammans took Fergus Falls starter Shane Neumann deep for a three-run home run in the third, followed by a solo shot by Joe Solberg to give Perham a five-run cushion.

“We come to play,” Neumann said. “It may not seem like that in the regular season but we fight.”

Perham had beaten Fergus Falls in two prior meetings in Fergus by scores of 12-0 and 10-2 June 17.

Fergus Falls tied the game with a five-run fifth inning on RBI singles by Noah Strom, Alex Hexum and a RBI double by Jake Lee.

The rally fired up Neumann on the mound.

“I’m used to giving up; I’m used to getting down on myself,” he said. “My teammates had my back; coach believed in me and I believed in myself. After that big five-run inning we put up I told them, ‘I’m going to shut them down.’”

Perham regained the lead 6-5 when Solberg scored his second run of the game on a bleeder by Still that bounced off the second base bag and between the converging infielders.

Hexum scored his second run for Fergus Falls on a bad throw from shortstop to first base to tie the game in the seventh.

Perham reliever Mason Malikowski stranded Jared Christenson on third base by striking out the side to end the threat.

Fergus won the game beating up the Perham bullpen for four eighth inning runs by Strom, Hexum, Pearson and Stocks.

Perham put two across in the ninth to send Neumann to the dugout and Zach Thunselle saved the victory for Neumann retiring Hammans and Solberg.

Fergus Falls recorded no errors on defense to five gaffes for Perham.

In the other quarterfinal, Alexandria thumped Detroit Lakes 14-0. Fergus Falls and Alexandria square off in the 7 p.m. game Saturday for a spot in the finals.

In loser’s bracket play earlier in the day, No. 1 Moorhead eliminated No. 5 Thief River Falls 11-2. Bemidji stayed alive with a 6-4 victory over East Grand Forks. Moorhead opens play at 10 a.m. versus Perham. Detroit Lakes will play Bemidji at 1 p.m. in the other elimination game.

FER 000 050 140 — 10 15 0

PER 104 001 000 —  8 14 5

FER: Neumann (WP), Thunselle (S) and Strom.

PER: Mulcahy, Malikowski (6), Hammans (LP) (8), Carlson (9) and Meyer and Mulcahy (8).

PER: HR - Hammans, Solberg.

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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