(Chaska, MN) -- A furious five-run rally in the top of the 7th inning Friday vaulted the Parkers Prairie High School Baseball team to a spot in Monday's Prep Championship Series at Target Field in Minneapolis.
Trailing 3-1 entering the final inning against Hinckley-Finlayson, the Panthers batted around, scoring five times in a 6-3 win. Jake Thoennes started the 7th inning rally with a double. Later that inning, both Casey Peterson and Hunter McDaniel added two-run singles as part of the rally. A Hinckley-Finlayson error, allowing Harry Samuelson to reach base, proved pivotal in the uprising, as all five runs in the last inning turned out to be unearned.
The third pitcher on the hill for Parkers Prairie -- Matt Ferley -- hurled the final two innings to gain the victory. Levi Arnold started for the Panthers and pitched five scoreless innings. The winning pitcher in Thursday's quarterfinal win against Badger-Greenbush-Middle River, Andrew Johnson, then got roughed up. With the Panthers clinging to a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the 6th, Johnson gave up three straight hits without retiring a batter. Ferley then relieved Johnson on the mound and gave up one more hit -- Trent Gustafson's two-run single to temporarily put Hinckley-Finlayson in front, 3-1. The Jaguars were then kept off the scoreboard, setting the stage for Parkers Prairie's dramatic 7th inning rally.
In its first appearance ever in the Minnesota State High School League's Baseball State Tournament, top-seeded Parkers Prairie will take a 22-2 record into Monday's Class A title game match-up with the Springfield Tigers. Springfield downed Adrian in the other Class A semifinal Friday afternoon, 5-4. The Tigers out-hit Adrian in the game, 11-3.
Monday's match-up between the Panthers and Springfield will start the 7th annual Prep Championship Series, featuring four title games that day at Target Field in Minneapolis. Springfield is making a return to the Prep Championship Series. In 2015, the Tigers were defeated by New Life Academy, 6-5 in eight innings.
Information furnished by the Minnesota State High School League was used in this report.