6AA West baseball: Osakis advances and readies for the challenge ahead
The Osakis baseball team got its first win in the Class AA playoffs on Tuesday night. Now the goal is to keep it going in the double-elimination format of the 6AA tournament.
The Silverstreaks had to play in a close game against seventh-seeded Wadena-Deer Creek through five innings, but the Wolverines were in an uphill battle all night against senior starter Jordan Frederick. He was in complete control as he never allowed a runner to reach second base. He gave up just two hits and a walk while striking out nine in an 8-0 win for Osakis.
“I definitely felt good,” Frederick said. “I knew I had the best team, best defense behind me that we’ve had all year. Everyone who has been injured is back and healthy, so I wasn’t going to try and do everything myself. I was going to rely on them too.”
Osakis grabbed a 1-0 lead in the first inning after Drew Fearing singled and later scored on a wild pitch. The Silverstreaks added to that in the second with an RBI double from fellow senior Lane Berberich. Osakis often adds on from there, but Wadena-Deer Creek starting pitcher Michael Behl held the Silverstreaks scoreless in the third, fourth and fifth innings.
“Basically I was just trying to go out there and get us right back in the dugout so we can try to manufacture some runs,” Frederick said. “I know there’s times when it will be a 0-0 game and it will be tight. I just got to go out there and keep doing my thing so that when we get back in here my team can go out and get me some runs.”
The Silverstreaks eventually did that with a six-run sixth inning. Osakis sent 10 batters to the plate as the first six reached safely before an out was recorded.
The hit that blew the game open came off the bat of Berberich with the bases loaded. He came up after Hunter Scherr had walked in a run, but Berberich had no intentions of doing the same. He took two healthy cuts on the first two pitches he saw and fouled them straight back. He didn’t miss the third one, lining a pitch down the left field line that went all the way to the fence for a three-run double.
“Bases loaded in a close game, I was just thinking get a hit, get some runs in any way I can,” Berberich said. “I was down 0-2. That got me a little nervous, but I was still just going to swing hard and that’s what I did. The ball came that I wanted. I felt confident after my first two swings. I knew I was on him. I just needed to get it right.”
Berberich, Fearing, Frederick and Scherr are the four seniors on this roster who have the most to lose at this point in the season. All four played big roles in Osakis’ run to the Class A state championship game last season, and they weren’t ready for things to end with an early exit to the Wolverines.
“There’s definitely some pressure when it comes to that,” Berberich said. “I’ve been playing baseball for a long time. It’s my favorite sport. I don’t ever want our season to end.”
The Silverstreaks now have a chance to prove themselves at Putz Field in St. Cloud with another game right away on Wednesday. Osakis will play sixth-seeded Pierz at 7 p.m. tomorrow after the Pioneers upset third-seeded Foley in a 2-1 game on Tuesday.
“Our gameplan coming in was definitely to get a good-sized lead early and take Jordan out and put in Michael [Herringshaw] and save Jordan so he could go tomorrow,” head coach Shad Schmidt said. “But it doesn’t always work out the way you want. Fortunately we won. That’s the most important thing and getting in that double elimination is huge for us because it shows we can play with some of these teams, but also it’s hard to eliminate a team. We’re going to have that mentality that we don’t want our season to end.”
Win or lose on Wednesday, Osakis will turn around and play again on Thursday right back in St. Cloud. Three games in three days means teams with two or three dominant starting pitchers could have the upper hand.
“I think that’s kind of why the East half really pushed to have it this way,” Schmidt said. “Because usually there’s a break. I think some of those bigger schools felt they have more depth and it would benefit them to do that, rather than a team like us where we have one legitimate ace and we can rest him and he can come back and throw. I understand what they’re trying to do. It’s going to be a tougher road, but our kids are up to the challenge. It’s good for them to play against good competition, especially for the guys that are going to return next year.”
Berberich is likely to get the start on Wednesday with Frederick saying he’ll definitely be ready to go again on Thursday. Regardless of who they play, this is a talented Silverstreaks team that also knows it needs to play some of its best baseball against a strong 6AA field in order to advance.
“I feel we’re confident, but we still have some room to improve,” Berberich said. “We kind of started off slow today, which I think we could have done a lot better than we did. I think we needed to start it the way we finished it today.”
WDC 000 000 0 – 0 2 4
OSAKIS 110 006 X – 8 7 2
OSAKIS PITCHING – Frederick – W, 7IP, 2H, 0R, 0ER, 1BB, 9SO
OSAKIS OFFENSE – Berberich – 2 2B, 4 RBI, 1 run; Fearing – 1B, BB, 1 run, RBI, SB; Frederick – 2 BB, 1 run; Herringshaw – 1B, BB, RBI; Cody DeWenter – 1B, 1 run; Jarrett Weispfennig – BB, 1 run; Brady Berberich – 1B, HBP, BB, 1 run; Hunter Scherr – 1B, BB, RBI, 2 runs