Osakis baseball: Prairie battle between Silverstreaks and Tigers
The Osakis baseball team knew the margin of error was small against an undefeated Browerville team going into a match-up between two of the top teams in the Prairie Conference on Tuesday night.
The Tigers came in ranked eighth in the latest Class A polls for a reason. Pitching is one of those and Austin Host made sure the Silverstreaks wouldn't be able to overcome a few critical errors in a 3-0 loss for Osakis.
Host and Jordan Frederick locked up in a battle of two of the top pitchers in the conference. The Osakis sophomore matched Host through the early innings, getting back-to-back 1-2-3 innings in the third and fourth. He ran into his first bit of trouble in the fifth when Browerville put the first run up on a sacrifice fly.
That would prove to be the game winner. Host worked his way out of trouble throughout the night as he stranded runners in scoring position in five of the seven innings. The Silverstreaks brought the tying run to the plate in the bottom of the seventh, but Host struck out Frederick on a night when Osakis struggled to find consistency throughout its lineup.
"Austin's a great pitcher," head coach Shad Schmidt said. "He's done a good job all year...he's tough, but at the same time, we put the ball in play, but we got to get more out of our five, six, seven guys. Those guys need to pick it up, and if we do that, I think we can compete against good pitchers. Maybe we got to get some other guys at-bats like a Grayson Fortenberry or an Austin Rollag. It's time to start pressing some people I guess."
The Silverstreaks finished with six hits on the night. Lane Berberich had two of those, while Frederick, Fortenberry, Kyle Swenstad and Hunter Scherr each added singles.
Frederick took a complete-game loss after scattering five hits, a walk and a hit batter. Two of the runs he allowed were earned on a night when the Tigers added a couple insurance runs in the late innings with the help of Osakis miscues. An overthrow trying to cut down a runner at third on a bunt allowed the second run to come in and score in the sixth.
In the seventh, it was a miscommunication that all but put the game out of reach with the way Host was going. The Tigers put runners on first and third with two outs when the runner on first got into an intentional rundown. The runner at third broke home and easily scored before Osakis recorded the final out on a tag near first base.
"What's frustrating is on both those plays, those are things we've worked on since day one in practice," Schmidt said. "Working on bunting and first and third situations. Those are things that I told them are going to be important because with the new bats and how close our conference is, defense and plays like that are huge."
That's what Schmidt wanted his players to take from this game. Osakis had chances to turn this game in its favor with a big hit or by executing key plays on defense throughout the night. If they can shore those things up, the Silverstreaks believe they have the talent to compete with anyone in the conference.
"We didn't play as good as we're capable of," Schmidt said. "And we still played a very good team very close and very tough. It just shows how good we can be when we put everything together. We can be really good. We can beat some good teams. We just need to pick it up and find our best baseball."
BROWERVILLE 000 011 1 - 3
OSAKIS 000 000 0 - 0
OSAKIS PITCHING - Jordan Frederick - L, 7IP, 5H, 3R, 2ER, 1BB, 2SO, 1HB
OSAKIS HITTING - Lane Berberich - 2 1B; Frederick - 1B; Grayson Fortenberry - 1B; Kyle Swenstad - 1B; Hunter Scherr - 1B