Osakis embraces Class AA challenge
The Osakis baseball team got its first win in the Class AA playoffs on Tuesday night and was ready to see exactly how far it could go in a tough Section 6AA with at least three games being played in three days.
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 never really left any doubt after Osakis grabbed a 2-0 lead after two innings. Frederick allowed just two hits and a walk while striking out nine in an 8-0 win.
“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.”
That’s the kind of performance that Osakis has come to expect out of Frederick over the last few years. He had to hold a 2-0 lead through five innings, but the Wolverines never threatened as a runner never even reached second base.
“He’s been that guy the last two, three years,” head coach Shad Schmidt said of Frederick. “It feels so good to have a guy like that where when you put him on the mound, you’re confident that you know you have a chance to win.”
The Silverstreaks eventually gave him plenty of room to work with after 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 senior Lane 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. That was his second double of the night as he finished with four RBIs.
“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.”
Schmidt was happy that his lineup eventually made the adjustments at the plate to open the game up late. Wolverines starter Michael Behl didn’t have overpowering stuff, but he kept Osakis off balance through the middle innings with his off-speed pitches.
The Silverstreaks knew what to look for after a couple times through the lineup. They knocked Behl out of the game in the sixth and didn’t slow down once reliever Joseph Wallgren was in the game.
“I think we have a smart team offensively,” Frederick said. “Some of us still are learning, but a lot of the older guys definitely help out the younger guys and let them know what they should and shouldn’t be doing.”
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 were ready for the challenge that awaited them after the win over the Wolverines. That sent them to the double-elimination format of the tournament where they played sixth-seeded Pierz on Wednesday. Win or lose, Osakis had another game to play on Thursday with the section format set up to benefit teams with two or three dominant pitchers.
“I would say it’s a big challenge for us and I think it’s a good challenge,” Berberich said. “I think it’s good to have good competition that you’re playing against to see how good you actually are. It’s going to be a challenge, but we’re going to do our best.”
Schmidt felt his guys were ready with the possibility of facing top-seeded and second-ranked St. Cloud Cathedral (20-1) if both teams won on Wednesday.
“I think we kind of play to our competition,” Schmidt said. “It seems like we play up to our competition and down to our competition. I think some of our top of the order guys are going to like seeing someone who doesn’t throw so much slow stuff. That might benefit them, but it might be tough for some of our lower lineup guys. Our seniors just have to step up. It’s their final season. It’s their team.”
Visit www.theosakisreview.com for daily updates on the Silverstreaks’ playoff run or see next Wednesday’s issues of the Osakis Review or Echo Press.
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