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Back-to-back shutouts keep Wolverines alive

With their backs against the wall, the Wadena-Deer Creek baseball team came up with a pair of superb team pitching performances when they won a pair of elimination games over Hawley and Breckenridge on June 4 in Perham.

Justin Dykhoff and Lleyten Pettit combined to blank Hawley 3-0 in the first elimination game and the trio of Payton Rondestvedt, Pettit and Josh Dykhoff shut down Breckenridge 4-0 in game two.

The Wolverines jumped ahead in the second inning against Hawley when Colby Schertler hit a two-run single with two outs in the second inning. The rally was set up by two-out singles from Noah Roers and Max Phillips.

Wadena-DC struck again in the fifth inning when Justin Dykhoff singled and eventually scored on a double by Rondestvedt, which made it 3-0. That would be enough for the duo of Dykhoff and Pettit as they blanked Hawley and held the Nuggets to just four hits.

Dykhoff went three and two-thirds, allowing two hits and one walk. He struck out four, but was removed for pitch count purposes when the Wolverines gained a 2-0 lead. The Wolverines have the option of pitching him on Thursday after limiting his pitches. Pettit held the Nuggets to two hits and one strike out in relief.

Mason Klevgaard took the loss for Hawley. He allowed three runs on eight hits. He struck out one and walked two batters.

Justin Dykhoff and Rondestvedt finished with a pair of hits each, while Schertler, Roers, Phillips and Pettit finished with a hit each.

The Wolverines gained a measure of revenge when they blanked the Cowboys in their second elimination game of the day. Rondestvedt pitched the first three innings and allowed three hits. He struck out five batters and picked up the win. Pettit starred in middle relief. He went two and a third and allowed three hits. He struck out one and walked one in holding Breckenridge at bay. Josh Dykhoff recorded the save by retiring the four batters he faced.

The Wolverines grabbed the lead in the third inning with a pair of runs. Phillips singled and moved up on a single by Schertler. Both of them came around to score on a double by Chase Nordlund, which gave the Wolverines the 2-0 lead.

The Wolverines gained some insurance in the seventh inning. Rondestvedt and Dykhoff had back-to-back doubles, which made it 3-0. Phillips dropped down a bunt, which allowed the fourth run to score for Wadena-DC.

Jake Wendorff took the loss for Breckenridge. He allowed three runs on six hits and one strike out. Carter Haugen allowed a run on one hit and one walk.

Schertler, Nordlund, Rondestvedt, Josh Dykhoff and Pettit had hits, while Phillips finished with two hits.

The Wolverines will face one more elimination game before a potential match-up with Perham in the Section 8AA Championship. Perham defeated East Grand Forks 8-3 in the undefeated game. Wadena-Deer Creek and East Grand Forks will square off on June 6 at noon at Krueger Field in Perham.

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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