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Esox, Snurdbirds share league lead

Cody Schirmers put down a sacrifice bunt during Park Rapids' win over Staples Sunday. Vance Carlson / Enterprise

With four games remaining, the Lake and Pine League regular-season title is up for grabs.

The Park Rapids Esox used a 6-3 amateur baseball win over Staples Sunday afternoon at Park Rapids to avenge an 8-7 loss at Staples on June 23 and improve to 8-2 in league play.

Midway followed a 9-2 win over Staples Friday night at Menahga with a 17-2 win over Huntersville Sunday afternoon at Menahga to match Park Rapids' 8-2 record. Nimrod sits in third place in the Lake and Pine League standings at 8-3 with Wolf Lake (6-3), Staples (4-5), Sebeka (5-7) and Huntersville (2-7) following. Verndale folded its team.

Park Rapids scored once in the first inning, twice in the third inning, twice in the fourth inning and once in the seventh inning to defeat Staples.

Nick Jasmer singled and scored on an error in the first. The Esox scored twice with two outs in the third on singles by TJ Erickson and Tom Juberian and Zach Hocking's two-run double. Singles by Kevin Kuhn, Riley Massie, Jasmer and Erickson produced the two runs in the fourth. Hocking scored the final run by leading off the seventh with a walk, moving to third on Cody Schirmers' sacrifice bunt and Dan Pike's grounder, and scoring on a wild pitch.

Erickson went the distance for the win as Park Rapids improved to 9-6 overall.

The Esox dropped a 15-5 decision to the Crookston Reds at Crookston on Friday night. The Reds (who finished with 23 hits) rallied from a 3-1 deficit by scoring four times in the third, four times in the fourth, three times in the fifth and three times in the sixth to end this game early via the 10-run rule.

Home runs by Steve Wetterling and Cory Odland powered Midway past Staples.

Wetterling scored two runs and had two RBI while Odland scored three runs. Preston Riewer (2 for 3, one run, one RBI) and Drew Rasmussen (2 for 5, two RBI) led Midway's seven-hit attack. Jake Lund (1 for 2, one RBI) had the other hit while Brett Dormanen scored twice and CJ Maki scored the other run as Midway jumped out to an 8-0 lead by scoring twice in the first and three times in both the second and third innings.

Lund started and threw a two-hit shutout with four strikeouts over the first four innings. Etter picked up the win in relief, allowing two runs on two walks with five strikeouts over the final five innings. Staples scored both runs in the ninth.

Midway scored eight runs in the sixth and six runs in the eighth to break open a 3-2 game in the win over Huntersville.

Riewer (3 for 4 with two doubles, three runs, two RBI), Rasmussen (2 for 5, two runs, two RBI), Etter (2 for 3, three runs, two RBI), Chris Baso (2 for 3 with a home run, three runs, two RBI), Dormanen (2 for 4, one run, two RBI), Ray Mueller (2 for 5, two RBI), Alex White (1 for 2, two runs, one RBI), Sawyer Barglof (1 for 6, two runs) and Mike Baso (1 for 2, one run, one RBI) led the Snurdbirds' 16-hit attack.

Stetson Burkman started and earned the win, allowing two runs on five hits and two walks in four innings. Riewer and Rasmussen pitched two innings each and combined to allow one hit while striking out three as Midway improved to 14-3 on the season.

Park Rapids will host Huntersville Sunday afternoon (July 15) at 1:30 p.m. and will travel to play the Bemidji Blue Ox on July 17 at 7:30 p.m. Midway travels to New York Mills Friday (July 13) and will host Wolf Lake Sunday afternoon (July 15) at 1:30.