PACT reaches deep for run to section baseball final

PACT Charter School was moved from Section 4A to 5A this season and in doing so won its first section game in the school’s baseball program history 10-0 against Braham May 23.

PACT’s Derek Stone, right, tags Royalton baserunner Randale Fernelius during the Section 5A game at Faber Field in St. Cloud June 2. Photo by Bill Jones

PACT’s Derek Stone, right, tags Royalton baserunner Randale Fernelius during the Section 5A game at Faber Field in St. Cloud June 2. Photo by Bill Jones

Looking at an uphill road in the new section that placed the Ramsey charter school among rural programs, instead of similar suburban private and charter schools, was a welcome change for third-year coach Josh Coleman.

The Panthers posted a 7-9 regular season record and won two Minnesota Christian Athletic Association Conference games all spring including a 3-1 season-opening win against Lester Prairie and a 17-3 win at Trinity at River Ridge May 5.

“We were disappointed in our play during the regular season,” Coleman said. “We came out flat and there wasn’t a lot of team unity. We had some tough losses and were 10-runned.”

Coleman challenged the team to turn things around before the regular season finale against North Lakes and they responded with an 8-4 win against the Forest Lake school May 20.

“That was a game we needed to win and we needed just one win in the worst way,” Coleman said, noting leadoff batter junior Karr Fager has provided that spark at the top of the order with a hit in every game except three to raise his batting average near .400.

That win sparked the confidence in the team to keep winning and they did that with back-to-back shutout wins to open section play.

PACT disposed of Braham 10-0 in the sub-section opener at Castle Field in Anoka.

A win over Coleman’s alma matter was a good way to start section play.

“We came into the game against Braham apprehensive and then we hit the ball all over the park,” he said, noting his record against the Bombers is 3-1.

Clutch hits have come from several spots in the order during sections.

Against Braham it was sophomore outfielder Drew Johnson with a 3-for-4 performance including a pair of doubles to plate two runs.

East sub-section top-seed was next and PACT emerged with a 2-0 win to reach the section quarterfinals.

Junior pitcher Luke Johnson earned the four-hit complete game shutout against Hinckley. He struck out seven and didn’t walk a batter.

PACT beat Legacy in six innings, 15-4, to move into the championship semifinal against Royalton, two wins from the section title.

The Royals outlasted PACT 8-7 in the championship semifinal June 2 to set up an elimination game against Browerville.

Coleman started Luke Johnson against the Royals before Kevin Brimhurst took over in the third inning.

PACT emerged with a 3-2 win against Browerville on June 3 to face Royalton in the final. Panthers pitcher Zach Hudson earned the win in five innings of work against a very strong hitting Browerville side.

Drew Johnson came through with another big performance slashing a double over the right fielder’s head to bring in the tying run and later scored the winning run in the sixth inning.

The Panthers couldn’t match Royalton in what would be the championship final 13-6 on June 5 to finish with a 11-11 record.

Jason Olson is at
jason.olson@ecm-inc.com

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