WDC Legion defeats Park Rapids twice to qualify for sub-state tournament
Sub-state tournament starts Wednesday, July 21, in Marble
Wadena-Deer Creek ended the season for the Park Rapids American Legion baseball team with a pair of wins in the sub-state qualifying tournament at Park Rapids on July 17-18.
W-DC opened the four-team double-elimination tournament with a 12-2 win in five innings over Park Rapids on July 17. They faced Park Rapids again on July 18, defeating them 9-3 to move on to the sub-state tournament.
Lleyton Pettit threw a five-hitter in leading W-DC to the win in the first game.
W-DC jumped out to a 6-0 lead in the first inning when the first six batters reached base on five walks and a single off Park Rapids starter Harley Wellman. Ethan Eischens took over for Wellman and gave up another walk and a two-run single to Carson Kern.
Two-run singles by Evan Lunde and Kern and an RBI double by Josh Dykkoff pushed the lead to 11-0 in the third.
Park Rapids scored its lone runs in the fourth when Jaxson Lund reached on an error, Ethan Eischens doubled and Wellman lined a two-run single.
W-DC concluded the scoring in the bottom of that inning.
Although the team got off to a slow start in the second game between these teams, a five-run third inning helped W-DC eliminate Park Rapids.
Park Rapids jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first when Olson reached on a two-base throwing error and scored on a bunt single by Lund and a throwing error. Torkelson followed with a single as Lund scored on another throwing error.
W-DC erupted for four extra-base hits to claim a 5-2 lead in the third. Dykhoff led off with a double and Payton Rondestvedt followed with a two-run homer. After a solo homer by Connor Davis, Chase Nordlund walked and scored on a triple by Pettit, who scored on an error.
"Once Payton hit that home run to tie it and Connor followed with a solo shot to take the lead, the momentum was in our hands and there was no stopping the bats after that," head coach Justin Dykhoff said.
In the fourth, a two-out double by Rondestvedt, an RBI single by Davis and two errors gave W-DC a 7-2 lead.
A lead-off double by Dykhoff, Rondestvedt’s RBI single and Nordlund’s RBI double made it 9-2 in the sixth before Park Rapids concluded the scoring in the seventh when Olson singled, advanced to third on an error and scored on Lund’s grounder.
Olson had a bunt single in the third while Torkelson and Johanning had singles in the fourth to account for Park Rapids’ other hits. Torkelson took the loss, allowing seven runs over five innings. Lund allowed two runs in the sixth.
Dykhoff picked up the win, allowing two unearned runs on three hits while striking out nine over five innings. W-DC and Aitkin advance to the next round of the playoffs.
W-DC travels to Marble Wednesday, July 21, where they will face Eveleth to start the Sub-State tournament. According to Dykhoff, the team is looking to get back to the state tournament this year.
Park Rapids Enterprise sports reporter Vance Carlson contributed to this reporting.