Pirates now need three wins in two days.
The Pirate baseball team fell by the Ten Run Rule 13-3 on Tuesday in Park Rapids, as Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton took advantage of several defensive miscues from Crookston and a couple of nice bounces to hand the Pirates their first loss of the postseason.
The good news for the Pirates is that the baseball Section playoff format is such that after the first round, a loss isn’t the end of the line, as they simply slide into the loser’s bracket, where they will face off with the Hawley Nuggets for a chance to face DGF again, this time having to win two straight games.
The Pirates got off to a good start on Tuesday, with Ryan Porter slamming the first pitch of the game into the right-center gap for a leadoff double. Seth Desrosier brought Porter around with a first-pitch single two batters later, and the Pirates were on the board 1-0.
That score held until the bottom of the third inning when the Pirates started to slip a bit. Their defense, which had been such an important part of their strong playoff success prior to Tuesday let them down a bit, as they committed numerous errors and Pirate pitcher, Aaron Hollcraft, struggled a bit with command, as the Rebels put up a combined nine runs in the third and fourth innings. “We gave up an 0-2 double with bases loaded and that is something we can't do if we want to continue on in the season,” head coach Mitch Bakken said.
There were certainly a couple of bounces that went against the Pirates, as well, as the Rebels had several infield hits that didn’t make it more than 15 feet, and the Pirates compounded the issue with throwing errors. “It was a tough luck loss,” Bakken said. “They were aggressive and they made their own luck and capitalized when they needed to and that is why DGF won big.”
The Pirates got a run of their own in the fourth, as Cody Wardner doubled in Desrosier, but with the score 9-2 after four innings, the battle was an uphill one.
In the top of the sixth inning the Pirates showed some signs of life, however. The first four Pirate hitters of the inning reached base, with one coming around to score and load the bases. The Rebels escaped the jam with no other runs scoring though, a huge boon for DGF.
With Cody Weiland taking Hollcraft’s place on the mound, the Rebels scored four runs in the bottom of the sixth to complete the Ten Run Rule victory. “After the game I just let the guys know now is the time to get focused and visualize on what needs to be done,” Bakken said.
Bakken noted that the team will need to be more focused leading up to the Hawley game, and hopes the loss will help to refocus them.
The Pirates will now have to win out if they want to represent Section 8AA at the State Tournament. That road begins with Hawley on Thursday at 12:00 p.m. in Perham. “The only thing the team can do at this point is to get focused on Hawley, play relaxed, visualize what it takes to be a section champion and go out and execute the game plan,” Bakken said. “If we do that, we can still be a tough team to beat.”
Should the Pirates win, they will then play DGF once again Thursday afternoon at 2:30 p.m. Then, if they win that game, a winner-takes-all final game would take place on Friday.