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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Playing in front of its largest crowd of the season, the Perham Pirates responded with a 5-2 victory over the Dent Wildcats on July 4. The Pirates followed with a 6-2 victory over New York Mills on July 7 in Perham. With a large crowd waiting for the annual fireworks display, the Pirates showcased an explosion of their own scoring four runs in the final three innings to pull out a 5-2 victory over Dent. Perham jumped ahead in the fifth inning with a lone run. Chris Ruther doubled and eventually scored when Andrew Dahl reached on a fielder's choice.
Noah Rooney pitched five strong innings and helped the Perham Buzz earn a split with the Bemidji Centaurs on July 8 at Krueger Field in Perham. Rooney held a potent Bemidji line up to two runs before exiting in a 4-3 victory over the Centaurs in game one. The bats came alive in game two for the Centaurs when they earned a 7-4 victory over Perham.
The Perham Buzz struck when they needed it the most when it picked up a 2-1 extra inning victory over Dickinson, N.D., on June 27 at Krueger Field. Noah Rooney was lights out on the bump for Perham. However, he did not factor in the decision. Rooney struck out 16 Dickinson batters in seven innings of work and was lifted due to pitch count. He walked one and yielded just two hits.
The Pelican Rapids Lakers went old school in its 4-2 victory over the Perham Pirates on June 26 at Krueger Field in Perham. In the modern era of pitch counts, Pelican Rapids’ Jan-Erik Lindberg turned back the clock in a complete game effort over the Pirates. The right-handed pitcher threw 153 pitches, 96 of them for strikes as he limited the Pirate offense.
The Perham Buzz responded from adversity to earn a split with the Fargo Post 400 Stars on June 25 at Krueger Field. The Buzz watched a 1-0 lead disappear in game one to suffer a 2-1 defeat. However, the Buzz rallied back and cruised in game two for a 9-1 victory, earning a split and snapping a small two-game losing streak.
Fresh off its sixth place finish at the Class 2A Championships, the Perham Buzz American Legion Baseball team took to the field at Omaha Burke High School for the Battle for Omaha Tournament on June 17. The Buzz opened play against Buffalo in its first round robin game. Both teams exchanged runs in the early going, but it was Buffalo using the big inning late to secure a 12-4 victory over the Buzz in their season-opening contest.
Perham’s ability to get the big inning did not come to fruition thanks to the pitching and defense of the Paynesville Area Bulldogs. Grady Fuchs held Perham to three hits when the Bulldogs defeated Perham 3-2 in the Class 2A Tournament at Dick Putz Field in St. Cloud on June 13.
The big stage shouldn’t face the Perham baseball team when they make its ninth appearance at the Minnesota State Baseball Tournament. The Yellowjackets have players who have played in the Class AAA Football Tournament and the Class AA Basketball Tournament. The big game experience should help the Yellowjackets when they take on Paynesville at 12:30 p.m. at Dick Putz Field in St. Cloud on June 13.
Perham senior Ashley Hokanson went from intimidated by the event, to becoming two-time Class 1A Champion in the pole vault and the new state record holder on June 8 at Klas Field at Hamline University. Hokanson won the title when she cleared 11 feet, nine inches, but she continued to raise the bar. She eventually cleared 12 feet, seven inches to set the record. She tried to clear 12 feet, 10 inches but was unable.
Perham junior Brandon O’Hara was edged out by Staples-Motley’s Emmet Anderson at the Class A Cross Country Championships in November. During the Class A Track and Field Championships, O’Hara returned the favor when he finished second in the 3200 meter run at Hamline University. “It feels pretty good. It’s really a great validation of the winter training that I did, the cold mornings, cold afternoons and all the long runs,” O’Hara said. “It really paid off.”