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Dykhoff throws third no-hitter

Wadena-Deer Creek's Justin Dykhoff delivers to the plate against Park Rapids Area. The senior pitcher has tossed three no-hitters in his four starts during the 2019 season. Jason Groth/Pioneer Journal

Wadena-Deer Creek senior pitcher Justin Dykhoff is in a zone unlike any other. Dykhoff completed his third no-hitter in four starts as the Wolverines defeated Park Rapids Area 5-0 on April 25 in Wadena.

“It felt as good as it has all year, it was the best it ever has,” Dykhoff said after the game. “I have never been in it like this and everything is working.”

In his four starts this year, Dykhoff has posted three no-hitters and a one-hitter. He has pitched 24 and a third innings and has allowed just one hit. He has four wins and a save as the Wolverines have raced out to a 7-0 record.

Payton Rondestvedt charges in on the ground ball at short stop.

“He is just confident out there with the way the season has started for him,” Wadena-Deer Creek head coach Kyle Dykhoff said. “He got off to a good start and now is starting to hit the ball, which helps in being positive when you go back out to the mound and you just had a quality at bat.”

Kyle Dykhoff said he hasn’t seen anything like the start Justin has gotten off to during the 2019 season.

“You have to be ready prior to the season to come out of the gates on top of your game as a pitcher like he is right now,” Dykhoff said. “He is just locked in and it’s also a credit to the defense behind him. We have a very fast outfield with whoever we put out there and we have a solid infield. They are making those tough plays that they make look routine when really they are not.”

In his outing against Park Rapids Area, Justin Dykhoff struck out eight batters and relied on his defense to make plays behind him. He retired the first 20 batters, before an error erased the perfect game. He plunked the next batter, but settled down to induce a fly ball to end the game.

Dykhoff said he knew the whole time that he was closing in on perfection and said it was on his mind.

“It felt good. It was a lot of defense today,” Dykhoff said. “I didn’t have as many strikeouts and our shortstop and second baseman probably had a combined eight or nine plays. Our shortstop had two in the last inning to finish it off.”

Dykhoff struck out eight, recorded seven ground outs and six flyouts on his way to the no-hitter.

Wadena-DC struck in the first inning when Dykhoff doubled and his courtesy runner, Mason Snyder, scored on an error, giving the Wolverines the 1-0 lead.

Wadena-DC added to the lead with three runs in the fifth inning. Dylan Ness doubled home a run and Lleyten Pettit grounded in a run. Colby Schertler scored on a passed ball in the inning as well.

Wadena-DC finished the scoring in the sixth inning when Payton Rondestvedt singled and eventually scored on a double play.

Brendan Kruchowski took the loss for Park Rapids Area. He pitched five innings and allowed four runs on four hits. He walked five and hit three batters.

“It was a good baseball game. Park Rapids is good baseball team and they threw a good pitcher today,” Kyle Dykhoff said. “We were able to push enough runs across. Usually, we don’t need too many with Justin on the mound, but you never know what kind of stuff a person is going to have on a given day. It was nice to put up five runs today.”

Max Phillips, Rondestvedt, Justin Dykhoff and Dylan Ness each had a hit, while Wyatt Hamann added a pair of hits for the Wolverines.

The Wolverines return to the field on April 26 when they take on Parkers Prairie at 4:30 p.m. in Wadena.

Jason Groth

 Groth is a Minnesota Newspaper Association award-winning Sports Editor of the Perham Focus and the Wadena Pioneer Journal. Groth worked in Grand Rapids as the Sports Director at KOZY/KMFY radio for two years and prior to that he was the Sports Editor/Writer for the Grand Rapids Herald-Review for seven years. 

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