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Baseball: Parkers Prairie showing confidence early; Debilzen's big game leads team to 6-2 win over Pillager

Debilzen records 11K's and three hits in Parkers Prairie's win over Pillager

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Parkers Prairie sophomore Dylan Debilzen throws a pitch in a game against Pillager on April 26, 2022. Debilzen struck out 11 batters in a 6-2 win.
Sam Stuve / Alexandria Echo Press

PARKERS PRAIRIE - A young Parkers Prairie baseball team is off to a good start this season with a 2-1 record following a 6-2 win over Pillager (1-4, 0-4 Park Region) on Tuesday.

Parkers Prairie got its win by scoring three runs in the bottom of the third inning, two in the bottom of the fourth and one run in the bottom of the fifth, which put the game out of reach.

“Guys were having good at-bats and they were patient,” head coach Derek Denny said. “At the same time, we've been preaching since our games last week to get in the box looking to hit every single pitch. Guys need to be preparing to hit and if it's close, they need to be offering and putting that ball in play.”

While the Panthers may be young, there appears to be a sense of quiet confidence that they present.

“I don't think it's arrogance and I don't think it's anything else, but they've always played with a lot of confidence,” Denny said. “I think they know that they're able to play good ball and watching these guys come through, they're always in the game. They never seem to get down, like last week, when they had a come-from-behind win.”

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Parkers Prairie head coach Derek Denny talks to his infielders during a mound visit in a game against Pillager on April 26, 2022.
Sam Stuve / Alexandria Echo Press

The majority of the roster may be a little on the younger side, they do have experience at the varsity level and they have experience winning.

“They've had a lot of success with [the] Babe Ruth [league]; they've been to state as 13-year-olds and 15-year-olds,” Denny said. “They’re young guys coming through and they're adjusting to the varsity level pretty nice right now.”

The Panthers have nine freshmen, 11 sophomores, six sophomores and three freshmen in the program.

One of the young guns was the ace that the Panthers needed on Tuesday to beat the Huskies.

Sophomore Dylan Debilzen, who is one of the six Panthers returning with varsity experience, pitched a complete game. Debilzen threw well despite having to navigate what he called a smaller strike zone.

“I was throwing very consistent, I think,” Debilzen said.

Debilzen struck out 11 and allowed three hits and zero earned runs.

“What he gives us every game is a quality start,” Denny said. “He looks like he’s gotten stronger from last year. He pumps the zone and he mixes his pitches well. He's just a true pitcher. He gave us just a top-notch performance out there.”

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Debilzen said his breaking balls were not moving early on this season like he wanted but that he was satisfied with his off-speed pitches on Tuesday.

Debilzen also had an impact in the batter’s box as well. He led the Panthers in hits with three and reached base in all four of his at-bats.

Nine different Panthers had a combined 14 hits.

“It's nice to see some guys get some hits,” Denny said. “Jake Wagner and Holden [Traux] and then Joe [Johnson] stepping in with the pinch hit. It's nice to see those guys starting to get some hits and hopefully some confidence out [there].”

Sophomore first baseman Zach Mrnak went 2-4 and had a game-high three RBIs.

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Sophomore first baseman Zach Mrnak led Parkers Prairie in RBIs with 3 in a 6-2 win over Pillager on April 26, 2022.
Sam Stuve / Alexandria Echo Press

Defensively Parkers Prairie had five errors while Pillager had two.

“Defensively, we struggled a little bit but that was very uncharacteristic from what I've seen from this group,” Denny said.

Parkers Prairie has a busy week ahead with a game against Ottertail Central (who it beat 2-1 on April 19) in Henning on Wednesday at 4 p.m., a home game against Long Prairie-Grey Eagle on Thursday at 4:30 p.m. and a home game against Bertha-Hewitt-Verndale at 4 p.m. on Friday.

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B-H-V beat Parkers Prairie on April 19, 6-5.

The Panthers are optimistic about their chances of playing well against some of the top teams in the conference.

“The team’s confidence is pretty good right now because we're 2-1 and we're one of the youngest teams in the conference,” Debilzen said. “We never come into a game thinking we're going to lose. We always have a winning mentality.”

PILLAGER - 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 - 2

PARKERS PRAIRIE - 0 0 3 2 1 0 X - 6

PARKERS PRAIRIE PITCHING - Dylan Debilzen - 7 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 11 SO

PARKERS PRAIRIE HITTING - Dylan Debilzen - 3-3; Cole Gesell - 2-4; David Revering - 2-4; Noah Steidl - 1-4; Zach Mrnak - 2-4; Carter Thiefschafer - 0-2; Holden Traux - 2-3; Black Adickes - 0-2; Joe Johnson - 1-1; Jake Wagner - 1-2

Sam Stuve covers a variety of sports in the Douglas County area. He also is assigned to do some news stories as well.
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