The Park Rapids Panthers clinched a fourth consecutive Mid-State Conference softball championship in a doubleheader sweep of Detroit Lakes in Park Rapids Thursday, May 2.
The Panthers won 10-0 by mercy rule in the opener and outscored the Lakers 9-4 to gain the sweep.
DL trailed 3-0 in the fifth inning of game one before Park Rapids used the long ball to blow the game open.
Kylee Pachel belted a grand slam to chase Laker starter Madilyn Kichner and Katelyn Weaver homered off reliever Mercedez Bellanger.
The Panthers’ Rylee Michaelson pitched all five innings for the victory fanning six Lakers and allowing only two hits. Matteya Borah and Bellanger had the lone safeties for the DL.
Kirchner suffered her first loss of the season.
Park Rapids got the offense going late in game two building on a 1-0 lead in the fourth inning, batting around to plate six runs for a 7-0 lead.
DL battled back with two runs in the fourth and fifth innings, highlighted by a two-run Kirchner homer.
The Lakers had nine hits in the game but were unable to capitalize offensively stranding 11 baserunners in the 9-4 loss.
Borah had two hits to pace the offense.
Kirchner dropped to 5-2 overall taking both pitching losses. Bellanger came on in relief in the fifth of game two allowing two runs on four hits with a pair of strikeouts.
The Lakers fall to 8-4 overall and 6-2 in the conference.
Park Rapids improved to 10-0 and are unblemished in four Mid-State series at 8-0 with only two Mid-State games remaining against winless Staples-Motley.
The Panthers are the second straight team to capture four straight conference titles following Pequot Lakes 2012-2015. Park Rapids has had the Lakers number taking seven of the last eight meetings.
The Lakers continue Mid-State play at Aitkin Tuesday, May 9.