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Big innings help Perham eliminate Wadena-DC

Perham's Emma Bowers connects for a two-run home run during Perham's seven-run first inning, helping the Yellowjackets to an 11-1 victory over Wadena-Deer Creek. Jason Groth/FOCUS1 / 2
Perham's Katie Johnson delivers to the plate during the first inning of her no-hitter against Wadena-Deer Creek. Johnson allowed one run on five walks, but did not yield a hit in the 11-1 win. Jason Groth/FOCUS2 / 2

The Perham Yellowjackets used a pair of big innings and a no-hitter from pitcher Katie Johnson in picking up an 11-1 Section 8AA first round playoff victory over Wadena-Deer Creek at Arvig Park on May 21.

The Yellowjackets scored seven runs in the first inning and tacked on three more in the second inning, taking control of the first round matchup between the Highway 10 rivals. It was the second straight year Perham has eliminated Wadena-DC in the first round. Last year, was a 4-2 nailbiter, but this one was decided quickly.

Perham's Emma Daniels slides in just before the tag of Wadena-DC's Kyla Ness.

The first nine batters reached safely in the first inning with seven of them coming around to score for the Yellowjackets. Emma Bowers started the scoring when she hit a two-run home run to centerfield. Kaylie Kirchenwitz followed with an RBI single and JoJo Winkels delivered a bases clearing double, which gave Perham the commanding 6-0 lead. Alexis Wood drove in Winkels for the seventh run of the inning.

Perham continued its strong hitting in the second inning. Kirchenwitz connected for a three-run home run and Perham was staked to a 10-0 lead in the second inning.

Johnson settled in. She has been battling arm issue but it didn’t appear to phase her. She allowed one run and relied on her defense throughout the game. She fanned three batters and walked five in her no-hit effort. It was the second straight win for Johnson, who shutdown Frazee in the first game of their doubleheader with the Hornets. 

Kyla Ness came on in relief for Wadena-DC and stemmed the momentum for a bit. Ness pitched four plus innings and allowed one run on three hits. She struck out two batters and issued one walk.

Wadena-Deer Creek got a lone run against Johnson when Ness walked and moved up on a soft grounder. Instead of stopping at second, Ness broke for third and the throw was errant, allowing her to score Wadena-DC’s only run. Johnson was able to strand Laura Krause at third to end the fourth, preserving the no-hitter and the lead.

Perham's Katie Johnson gets her foot on the bag before the tag at second base.

Perham closed the game out with a run in the sixth inning. Katie Zepper doubled and scored when Kirchenwitz reached on an error.

Perham had five players finish with multiple hits. Grace Minten, Zepper, Grayce Mickelson, Kirchenwitz and Wood had two hits each. Kirchenwitz drove in four runs, while Winkels plated three. Bowers had two runs batted in as well.

Mackenzie Carsten took the loss for Wadena-DC. She allowed 10 runs on 11 hits in more than an inning of work.

Perham will now play Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton, who defeated Ottertail Central 10-0 in five innings, on May 23 at 4 p.m. in Frazee.

Jason Groth

 Groth is a Minnesota Newspaper Association award-winning Sports Editor of the Perham Focus and the Wadena Pioneer Journal. Groth worked in Grand Rapids as the Sports Director at KOZY/KMFY radio for two years and prior to that he was the Sports Editor/Writer for the Grand Rapids Herald-Review for seven years. 

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