For the first time in 13 years, the Perham Pirates will be playing in the Class C State Tournament after picking up a 7-0 victory over the Midway Snurdbirds at Krueger Field on Aug. 10 in the Region 14C Tournament.
The Pirates enter the tournament as the No. 2 seed from Region 14C. The Pirates were defeated by Bluffton 13-0 in the championship of the region. Perham will play one of the tournament hosts, Maple Lake, in Maple Lake on Aug. 17 at 4:30 p.m. Maple Lake is the No. 4 team from Region 12C. Maple Lake finished the season with an 18-13 record overall, while Perham will enter the contest with a 10-11 mark overall.
The final spot in Region 14C came down to a pair of Cinderella teams. The Pirates were the No. 4 seed from the Hi-10, while the Midway Snurdbirds were the No. 6 seed from the Lake and Pine League. The Snurdbirds, a perennial power, would not give up their crown without a fight, despite struggling during the regular season. Midway opened the tournament with a win over Sebeka, before falling to Bluffton in the first round. Midway defeated New York Mills, Wadena-Deer Creek and Staples, before eventually falling to Perham on Aug. 10.
The Pirates received a pair of strong pitching performances in the 7-0 victory. Noah Rooney battled the first four innings and kept the Snurdbirds off the board. He yielded four walks but scattered three hits and struck out seven. Nick Lindberg took over in relief and kept the Snurdbirds off the board in five innings of work. He struck out five and gave up just two hits, picking up the victory.
It was a scoreless tie throughout the first five innings with both teams having opportunities go by the wayside. The Snurdbirds had runners in scoring position in each of the first three innings, however could not get the key hit.
Both Midway and Perham left the bases full in the third inning, and it was Perham, who finally broke through with a pair of runs in the sixth inning. Jack Stigman started the inning with a double and moved to third on a single by Gavin Biegler. Maddux Kovash broke the scoreless tie with an RBI single to make it 1-0. Josh Bollig delivered with a sacrifice fly, scoring the game's second run in the inning.
Perham added two more runs with a rally in the seventh inning. Dylan Perrine singled and advanced to third on a double by Dawson Stevens. Stigman walked to load the bases and Biegler followed with a two-run single, giving Perham a 4-0 lead in the seventh inning.
Perham put the finishing touches on the Snurdbirds with three runs in the eighth inning. Bollig led the inning off with a double and advanced on a Jace Kovash single. Perrine followed with a run scoring single. Kovash scored on a wild pitch and Stevens delivered with a double, scoring a run to make it 7-0.
Stetson Burkman took the loss for Midway. He went the distance for the third time in the two weekend tournament. He allowed seven runs on 14 hits. He struck out four and walked five batters.
Sam Beck had a pair of hits for Midway, while Cory Odland, Burkman and Preston Riewer each had a hit in the game.
Perrine and Biegler finished with three hits each, while Bollig, Stevens and Maddux Kovash added two each for Perham. Biegler drove in two runs, while Bollig, Perrine, Stevens and Maddux Kovash each drove in a run. Stigman and Jace Kovash each had a hit as well for Perham.
The Bluffton Braves shutout Perham 13-0 in the Region 14C Championship game. Chris Ruther, Biegler and Maddux Kovash had hits for Perham in the game.
(Editor's Note: Detroit Lakes' Josh Bollig and Andrew Dahl are Perham Pirates. Sam Beck played for the Midway Snurdbirds this season.)