Section 5A baseball (w/video): Osakis makes history
The Osakis baseball team wasn't going to let an opportunity to make history slip through its fingers in St. Cloud last Friday morning.
The Silverstreaks felt like they were the best team in the Section 5A field coming into the tournament more than two weeks ago. They then went out and left no doubt about that through a dominant run that was culminated with an 8-1 win over Hinckley-Finlayson in the section title game.
"It's a great feeling," senior Doug Zimmel said. "It's unbelievable. We've been working for this since seventh grade. We knew this team would come up and we would be strong."
It's a group of coaches and players who have done everything all season with the goal of making it to Target Field for the Class A title game in mind. To do that, they needed to first become the only team in program history to win a section championship. They not only won it, they dominated on their way to outscoring opponents 38-4 in their five wins.
"We play good teams and we've been preparing for this," senior Ky Zimmel said. "It's been a lot of hitting in the cages in the morning and putting in the extra time. We deserve it. We've been working hard."
Zimmel got the ball with a trip to the state tournament on the line and didn't disappoint. He worked fast and knew exactly what he wanted to do against the Hinckley-Finlayson lineup. Zimmel was able to hit the corner down and away with his fastball, which set up his off-speed pitches.
The Jaguars never threatened to put up a big number throughout the day. Their only run came in the third before Zimmel put things on cruise control the rest of the way. He went all seven innings, allowing just four hits and two walks, while striking out eight. It was a moment that meant a lot to a guy who missed his whole junior season after tearing his ACL in basketball.
"He's a senior," head coach Shad Schmidt said. "He deserved to be out there. Ky's one of those kids who kind of got a tough break last year with not being able to play with his knee, and I felt it was Ky's game to win. He deserved to be out there."
"First time we played them (in a 14-0 win last Monday) they were throwing strikes and we were ripping the crap out of the ball," K. Zimmel said. "This time, they tended to walk guys. We were trying to steal, trying to bunt guys around, play a little small ball, and it worked out. We got those runs in off of their mistakes, and it was important."
The path to the championship starts tomorrow at the Mini Met in Jordan. Osakis earned the number three seed and will play Blackduck at 3 p.m. on Thursday. Both teams are 18-2. The Silverstreaks will need to play their best baseball to play at Target Field on Monday morning, but this is a team that believes it belongs with the best of the Class A field.
"We're pretty confident," D. Zimmel said. "Our pitching is great, and if our defense keeps playing like this, we should be tough to beat."
HINCKLEY-FIN 001 000 0 - 1 4 4
OSAKIS 330 011 X - 8 7 1
OSAKIS PITCHING - K. Zimmel - 7IP, 4H, 1R, 1ER, 2BB, 8SO
OSAKIS OFFENSE - Jordan Frederick - 1-4, RBI; D. Zimmel - 2-2, RBI, BB; Brandon Giesler - 1-3; Drew Fearing - 0-3, RBI, 2 runs; Lane Berberich - 0-3, 2 runs; Grayson Fortenberry - 1-1, BB, RBI; Michael Herringshaw - 1-2, 2 runs; K. Zimmel - 0-2, 2 runs, RBI; Hunter Scherr - 1-1