Wolverines heading to state baseball tourney with win over Perham

Wadena-Deer Creek defeats Perham 3-2 in extra innings to win the Section 8AA championship

The Wolverines celebrate after getting the final out in the Section 8AA championship game against Perham Friday, June 11, 2021, in Deer Creek. WDC defeated the Yellowjackets 3-2 to claim the section title and move on to the state tournament. (Meghan Perry / Pioneer Journal)

The Wadena-Deer Creek Wolverines won the Section 8AA baseball championship Friday, June 11, defeating the Perham Yellowjackets 3-2 in nine innings and moving on to the Class AA state tournament.

In the top of the ninth inning, WDC's Tony Kreklau drove in Issac Haman for the go-ahead run for the Wolverines. The Yellowjackets threatened in the bottom of the ninth inning, but were ultimately unable to score, giving the Wolverines the 3-2 victory and the Section 8AA championship title. The win puts them in the state tournament June 15-16 in St. Cloud.

Wadena-Deer Creek's Isaac Hamann celebrates after scoring the go-ahead run in the top of the ninth inning in the Section 8AA championship game against Perham Friday, June 11, 2021, in Deer Creek. (Meghan Perry / Pioneer Journal)

The game was a defensive battle, as both teams remained scoreless until the fifth inning. The Wolverines scored two runs in the top of the fifth, when Evan Lunde drove in Zach Shaw and Carson Kern. The Yellowjackets answered right back, however, when Chas Melvin drove in Mason Schepper and Jacob McAllister to tie the score at two in the bottom of the fifth. That's where the score remained until the ninth.


Senior Caden Schossow took the mound for Perham, and Payton Rondestvedt started for Wadena-Deer Creek. Schossow pitched eight innings, giving up five hits and three runs (one earned), while walking two and striking out four batters in the outing. He was relieved in the ninth inning by Chas Melvin, who struck out one batter.

Rondestvedt went eight innings, giving up eight hits and two runs while walking two and striking out seven. Kreklau pitched the ninth inning in relief and gave up one hit. Kreklau also got the final out of the game, which was especially sweet considering he missed his sophomore year due to injury and his junior year due to COVID.

WDC head coach Kyle Dykhoff said at the beginning of the season that he was happy Kreklau was able to play his senior season.

"For him to come out his senior year and just tear it up and grind out this playoff run for us, pitching and catching and playing a great shortstop today, and then to be the one to go and get the final out . . . there's not a better kid to go get that final out," Dykhoff said.

Kreklau said it was a surreal feeling knowing that he was going to the state tournament after missing two seasons. "I'm just so excited," he said. "It's just so great to be able to play baseball after not playing it for two years, and getting to play, and then now we're going to the state tournament. I'm just so excited."

Perham head coach James Mulcahy said he expected a close game against Wadena-Deer Creek. "This is exactly what I would have guessed," he said. "One little play here or there, you take a risk, you take a shot at some things, sometimes it goes your way and sometimes it doesn't. I was expecting a close game and every little play was going to matter. They came out on top and they're going to go represent our section and our area very, very well."

Dykhoff had a similar sentiment about the game: "We knew going in today was going to be a dogfight, with two great baseball teams here, two great baseball programs, and what better way to do it than here with a great crowd, extra innings, a one-run game - this is why I love this game of baseball so much and have a passion for it - for days like today."

The Wolverines last state tournament appearance was in 1998.


Perham's Mason Schepper slides into third base just ahead of the tag by Wadena-Deer Creek's Connor Davis in the Section 8AA championship game Friday, June 11, 2021, in Deer Creek. (Meghan Perry / Pioneer Journal)

Wolverines 3, Yellowjackets 2


WDC 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 1 - 3 5 2

PER 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 - 2 9 3

WP-Tony Kreklau (WDC)

LP-Chas Melvin (PER)


WDC-Tony Kreklau 1RBI; Josh Dykhoff 2-4; Payton Rondestvedt 1-4; Zach Shaw 1R; Isaac Hamann 1-4, 1R; Evan Lunde 1-2, 2RBI; Carson Kern 1R

PER-Andrew Smith 1-5; Chas Melvin 2-5, 2RBI; Ben Shumansky 2-4; Rian Solberg 1-4; Logan Pulju 1-3; Jack Mensing 1-1; Mason Schepper 1R; Jacob McAllister 1-3, 1R


WDC-Payton Rondestvedt 8IP, 8H, 2R, 2BB, 7K; Tony Kreklau 1IP, 1H; PER-Caden Schossow 8IP, 5H, 3R, 1ER, 2BB, 4K; Chas Melvin 1K

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