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Wolverines hold off Perham, stop Frazee in 8AA playoffs

All eyes were on home plate when Perham's Maddux Kovash slides in at home as Wadena-Deer Creek's Jake Dykhoff tried to apply the tag. Jason Groth/Forum Communications 1 / 2
Wadena-Deer Creek's Justin Dykhoff fires to the plate during the Wolverines' victory over Perham. Jason Groth/Forum Communications2 / 2

The Wadena-Deer Creek baseball team stamped its name into the Section 8AA Winner’s Bracket final with a pair of wins over Perham, 8-7, and Frazee, 5-1, on May 31 at Krueger Field in Perham.

The Wolverines won a pair of games in differing manners. In game one, it was timely hitting and key plays defensively that helped the Wolverines hold off the Yellowjackets. In game two, it was Payton Rondestvedt and a big first inning which helped the Wolverines blast their way past Frazee.

“It was a fun day of baseball. We knew we had a tough one with a good Perham team. Justin (Dykhoff) came out and threw strikes and gave us an opportunity to win. We got some clutch hits and made the plays when we needed to, to grind out a win,” Wadena-DC head coach Kyle Dykhoff said.

Wadena-DC's Isaac Witthuhn slides in before the tag from Perham's Carter Mulcahy.

The Wolverines will now take on the top seed from the North, Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton, at 4:30 p.m. in Park Rapids.

“We are looking forward to playing DGF on Tuesday,” Dykhoff said. “It’s kind of who we wanted all along. We know we have to beat the best if you want to be the best. We are looking forward to a great matchup on Tuesday.”

Wadena-DC vs. Frazee

Wadena-DC eighth-grader Payton Rondestvedt set the tone with a perfect first inning and the offense exploded in the bottom half, helping the Wolverines cruise to a 5-1 victory over Frazee.

“That was a huge start for us to jump out. It set the tone for the whole game,” Kyle Dykhoff said. “I thought Frazee struggled to build momentum after that when you put them in that big of a hole. We put things in cruise control, which is not ideal. But, defensively and Payton throwing strikes it was good to see us put up a lot of zeros and close that game out.”

The offense started strong when Jake Dykhoff blasted a shot over the left field fence, scoring Preston Warren, who singled to start the inning. The offense didn’t quit there when Justin Dykhoff hit the base of the fence in right-centerfield for a double. Wyatt Hamann reached on an error and Rondestvedt helped himself with an RBI double. Isaac Witthuhn closed the scoring with an RBI single.

The five runs would be more than enough for Rondestvedt, who settled in. He retired the first nine batters he faced before giving up a single in the fourth. He allowed one run on two hits. He struck out five and walked one.

Justin Dykhoff and Rondestvedt recorded two hits each, while Warren and Jake Dykhoff had a hit each.

Thomas Stenger took the loss. He allowed five runs on seven hits. He struck out two batters. Logan Wacker and Mason Newling had hits for Frazee in the loss.

FRA 0 0 0  1 0 0 0--1 2 3

WDC 5 0 0  0 0 0 x--5 7 1

WP: Payton Rondestvedt

LP: Thomas Stenger

HR: Jake Dykhoff

Wadena-DC vs. Perham

The Wadena-DC Wolverines bent but they did not break as they held off a surging Perham Yellowjackets 8-7 in the first round of the Section 8AA Double Elimination Tournament at Krueger Field on May 31.

Both teams traded crooked innings in the game, but when the Wolverines grabbed the lead they never let go, holding off the Yellowjackets.

Perham's Noah Rooney brings it to the plate against Wadena-DC.

Justin Dykhoff battled on the mound, picking up the complete game victory. Dykhoff allowed seven runs on 11 hits. He walked one and struck out seven.

“To think of what he has went through in about 24 hours, he has pitched or caught every inning in a two-day span,” Kyle Dykhoff said. “I’m guessing he will sleep well. It was a much appreciated effort and that’s a lot of baseball, pitching and catching that much in two days.”

The victory for Wadena-DC spoiled a big day for Dawson Stevens. Stevens had three hits and drove in three runs for Perham. He came up in a key spot and delivered a bases clearing double that was a few feet away from being a game-tying, grand slam. Ryan Kalina and Maddux Kovash had two hits in the game for Perham.

However, the Wolverines were able to stay ahead of the Yellowjackets. The Wolverines got some key plays defensively, along with a few key two-out hits.

“We found a way to wiggle out of there. The big spot for us defensively in the game was Bryce Cooper at third. He made a lot of plays at third in both games,” Kyle Dykhoff said. “He was clutch for us when we needed and came up for us defensively.”

Bryce Cooper scoops the groundball and fires to first for the out.

Perham jumped ahead with a run in the second on an RBI single by Maddux Kovash. However, they were only able to get one run after having two on base with no one out.

Preston Warren’s squeeze bunt evened the game at one, scoring Isaac Witthuhn, who started the inning with a single. Noah Ross gave the Wolverines the lead with an RBI double. Wyatt Hamann added to it with a two-run double of his own.

Perham came right back with a pair of runs in the fourth on an RBI double by Kovash and an RBI single by Mulcahy.

The Wolverines added three in the fifth with RBI singles by Justin Dykhoff and Hamann, making it 7-3.

Stevens cleared the bases with his double off the fence, cutting the lead to 7-6. The Wolverines added an insurance run in the seventh when Jake Dykhoff scored on a passed ball.

Perham came back with a chance in the seventh inning. Nick Lindberg roped a double to start the inning and scored on an RBI single by Kalina. The Yellowjackets had two runners on but Justin Dykhoff induced a fly ball to end the game.

Noah Rooney took the loss for Perham. He allowed seven runs on seven hits. He walked three and struck out three.

Warren, Hamann and Witthuhn had two hits each for Wadena-DC, while Ross Jake Dykhoff and Max Phillips added a hit each.

Stevens had three hits for Perham, while Kalina and Maddux Kovash had two each. Lindberg, Jace Kovash, Mulcahy and Connor Breitenfeldt each had hits for Perham.

Perham now faces elimination when they take on Pequot Lakes at 1 p.m. on June 1 at Krueger Field in Perham.

WDC 0 0 4  0 3 0 1--8 12 1

PER 0 1 0  2 3 0 1--7 11 1

WP: Justin Dykhoff

LP: Noah Rooney

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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