Robert has been the Sports Editor for the Focus since April of 2010. During that time, Williams has had the privilege of covering multiple state championship teams and is a mainstay at state tournaments each season covering the successful, athletic programs of Perham and New York Mills High Schools. For the most up to date information, more photos, and live game coverage, follow @PerhamSports on Twitter.
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Getting simple things like a complete roster and time for practice with all the rain had Head Coach Evan Meece busy preparing the Perham Pirates for the upcoming baseball season. "I hope to get this done before Sunday's game," Meece said. Sunday's opener was in Fergus Falls against the Hurricanes at 1:45 p.m. Final practices were scheduled for Friday and Saturday leading up to the opener. Meece planned to hammer out team details then. "Our starting rotation took some hits with losses of two pitchers who called it quits after last season," he said.
Both the boys and girls track teams sprinted away from competition at the Hawley Booster Invitational. Combined, the teams took first place in 10 events and both team titles. Maddie McClellan set a new meet record in the 1600m run. The boys' team score of 151 was 21 points better than second place Hawley-Ulen-Hitterdal.
The Perham softball team blanked Park Rapids in the second game of a doubleheader 2-0 behind the arm of Krista Januszewski. Januszewski struck out six Panthers walking only one. "We have to make sure to get our mindsets on target from the first pitch," Head Coach Jill Walter said. "We did that in game two and were able to get a couple of runs. We need to continue to capitalize with base runners on and come up with some timely hits." Park Rapids won a close game 5-4 in the opener. "We knew that Park Rapids was going to be a good team," Walter said.
A six-run rally in the home half of the sixth inning erased a 6-4 Perham advantage leading to a 10-9 loss in the opener of a doubleheader at Park Rapids. The Yellowjackets would pound out 14 hits in the nightcap on way to a 10-8 victory. "We didn't play very well defensively," Head Coach Hans Hanson said. "Too many unearned runs." Between the two games the Jackets committed 13 errors in the field. "We will need to improve in that area if we expect to beat good teams.
The New York Mills Eagles used big sticks to clear the bases, scoring double-digits in both games, in a sweep of conference rival Verndale Tuesday, winning 10-3 and 12-3. Eric Wallgren crushed a first inning grand slam to get the twin bill started and Taylor Perala knocked in three runs, with a triple to the gap in game two, creating a gap on the scoreboard. "I've seen a lot of homeruns hit by high school ball players," Head Coach Chris Bushinger said.
The Perham tennis team took two matches from Section 8A rival Park Rapids before being swept by Crookston at the Park Rapids Traingular. Jordan Cresap got a win in the number four singles position beating Jonah Pearson of Park Rapids one and two. Cresap was also the lone Yellowjacket singles player to take a match at the Bemidji meet earlier in April. "He plays very consistent tennis," Head Coach Kyle Knutson said. "When he trusts his stroke and hits hard he can be very effective.
Another week, another second place finish behind the Hawley Nuggets for Jeff Tweeton's golf team. The boys team finished with a score of 159, 11 strokes behind Hawley's 148 at Balmoral Golf Course. The Yellowjackets are keeping pace with the front running conference leaders. After two meets, Hawley stands atop the standings with two points. Perham is in second with four. Leading the way for the Jackets at Balmoral was Perham's Evan Arvig, who shot a 36 for second place. Barnesville's Ryan LeNoue, Hawley's Bret Syverson, and Frazee's Beau Hanson shot 34 to tie for medalist honors.
The Perham girls softball team ended a three-game losing skid and upped their mark to 5-4 with a doubleheader sweep of Pequot Lakes.
A conference title is not beyond the reach of the NY Mills Eagles baseball team. The Eagles split a home doubleheader with Ottertail Central Tuesday, winning 10-5 in the opener before dropping game two 14-4. According to Head Coach Chris Bushinger, the conference title is not something the team has discussed. "We know that if we play good baseball--we can finish right up near the top," he said.
The Perham track teams are off to a solid start and are placing high in nearly every event. Distance running has been a staple of the team and as hosts of the Perham Invitational, the boys 1600m runners allowed only one competitor from out of town to place. "We have exceptional depth, especially in our distance runners," Head Coach Mike Peterson said. Senior Sam Stoll took the 1600m with a time of 4:45.27.