Growing up fast
The Osakis softball team showed a little bit of everything that one might expect from a talented group with a lot of young players who are getting their feet wet at the varsity level on Monday night against Brandon-Evansville.
Through five innings against the Chargers, the Silverstreaks couldn’t square anything up against senior Kinsley Randt. Good pitching by senior Amber Giese kept them in the game before the bats came to life in the sixth as Osakis scored five runs to secure head coach John Stigman’s 200th-career win in a 5-3 game.
“It seemed like we were kind of in a funk in everything we were doing,” Stigman said. “We weren’t swinging the bat well, we weren’t throwing the ball very well, weren’t running the bases very well, defensively not playing very well. It seemed like as the game went on, we started feeling a little better and our confidence picked up a little bit.”
The mood in the dugout changed with one swing of the bat from one of Osakis’ talented freshmen. Alecia Kaelke is hitting third in this lineup but already had two strikeouts against Randt in her first two at-bats.
She stepped to the plate in the sixth after a leadoff walk by Krista Fearing and was asked to bunt. Stigman said he wouldn’t normally do that with his third-place hitter, but he needed the runner in scoring position. Kaelke bunted foul, so Fearing took matters into her own hands and stole second base.
That gave Kaelke the green light. With two strikes, she turned on a Randt offering and lined it over the left field fence for a two-run home run that swung the momentum to Osakis.
“I was just ready and focused a lot to hit it,” Kaelke said. “I saw it coming and like my coach told me, ‘Every time, just take your step and swing away when it’s a strike.’ When I was running, I thought it was going to go foul. When I saw it go fair, I was so excited.”
The Silverstreaks could take a deep breath after that. Two batters later, Morgan Silbernick started another rally with a one-out double that was followed by an RBI single from Jenna Fearing. Brooke Waldorf followed with a walk before Jordyn Rajdl delivered another big blow to the Chargers with a two-run double.
“Definitely,” Rajdl said of if that Kaelke home run allowed them to relax. “It motivated us to just don’t be afraid. Hit the ball like we can. We’re a strong, solid team hitting-wise and just drive them in.”
The hit by Rajdl proved to be the game winner for Osakis after Brandon-Evansville rallied in the seventh. Freshman Morgan Stelzer gave her team a jolt with two outs as she connected on a two-run home run of her own. Megan Kokett almost extended the inning, but her deep fly ball to center field was tracked down near the warning track by Osakis’ Brooke Waldorf.
Osakis was coming off a loss where the Silverstreaks committed seven errors against Albany last Friday. They had a few more miscues early on Monday but settled in and played the kind of game they know they’re capable of down the stretch.
“We had a tough start but coming back, that’s what our team does,” Rajdl said. “I feel like in Albany, our confidence just kind of dropped after a while. We just have to reset our minds and set goals and exceed those and go chase them.”
Rajdl said one of those goals is to gain a little more consistency. Those bouts of uneven play could be expected of a team that started two freshmen and four sophomores on Monday night.
It’s a group that has shown plenty of potential through 11 games. The win against the Chargers and a loss to WCA on Tuesday moved the Silverstreaks to 8-3 on the season as they look well on their way to another winning season.
“Our older girls have really shown great leadership,” Stigman said after Monday night. “They’ve been working hard, and our younger girls have really stepped up and played well. That mix of both has really been the key. Would I have expected us to be 8-2 at this point? Probably not, but we knew we were OK. We’ve just surpassed I think a lot of people’s expectations and hopefully we keep doing that.”
B-E 001 000 2 – 3 3 0
OSAKIS 000 005 X – 5 7 3
PITCHING – B-E – Randt – L, 6IP, 7H, 5R, 5ER, 4BB, 5SO; Osakis – Giese – W, 7IP, 3H, 3R, 3ER, 2BB, 1SO
OFFENSE – Osakis – Katie Anderson – 1-4; K. Fearing – 0-2, BB, 1 run; Kaelke – 1-3, HR, 1 run, 2 RBI; Silbernick – 1-3, 2B, 1 run; J. Fearing – 2-2, BB, RBI, 1 run; Waldorf – 0-2, BB, 1 run; Ana Chisholm – 0-2, BB; Rajdl – 2-3, 2B, 2 RBI
B-E – Kokett – BB, 1 run; Lizzy Friedrich – Sac, RBI; Michelle Lund – 1-2, 2B, BB; K. Lund – 1-3, 1 run; Stelzer – 1-3, HR, 2 RBI, 1 run