Softball preview: Osakis loaded for new seasonReturning all but three players from a 23-2 season, the Silverstreak hope for more success
After rolling through the 2011 season with a 23-2 record and a trip to the state tournament, the Osakis Silverstreak softball team is poised for another high caliber season.
Returning all but three players, including nearly all of the pitching staff, head coach John Stigman is optimistic about the upcoming season.
“We bring back a strong nucleus of players in key positions,” he said. “Our greatest strength will be the experience of our upper classmen who have played in some big games in the past three years, including two state tournament games.
“We will be looking for those veteran players to help get our new faces acclimated to how we play softball.”
Gone from last season are Kiera Zimmel, Brianne Giesler and All-State first team selection and the team’s most valuable player Mercedes Klimek, all valuable contributors to the team’s success last season.
But the Silverstreaks have plenty of firepower remaining as they return seniors Sabrina Zimmel, Tonya Hetland, Janna Juntunen, Alex Anderson and Alida Hovey, as well as juniors Lauren Silbernick, Dani Chisholm, Rachelle Rajdl and Kaitlin Deel.
Zimmel, the Silverstreaks’ top pitcher, was also an All-State first team selection last year and was the Prairie Conference most valuable player.
Zimmel, Chisholm and Silbernick were all members of the All-Prairie Conference tam, while Anderson, Juntunen and Hetland joined Zimmel and Silbernick on the All-Section team.
“Our biggest questions will be how we fill the key position players and team players we lost to graduation,” said Stigman. “We have questions about who will fill those spots, but so do most other teams.
“Leadership and whomever steps up this year will be the key to our season.”
To fill the holes, Stigman has a field of new prospects to choose from, including junior Nicole LeBrun, sophomores Katie Anderson and Brooke Waldorf, freshman Mackenzie Staloch and 8th grader Morgan Silbernick.
While the Silverstreaks will be the obvious favorite in the Prairie Conference this season after their perfect 12-0 run, Eagle Valley, Browerville and Royalton all have chances to step up, according to Stigman.
He also sees Eden Valley-Watkins, Browerville and Royalton as sub-section contenders, with Isle, Barnum and Eden Valley-Watkins as the teams to keep an eye on in the section.
Stigman, who has coached the Silverstreaks for 15 years, has a record of 161 wins and 105 losses. He will be assisted this year by Kirsten Wessel and Brad Zimmel.
2012 OSAKIS SOFTBALL
SENIORS – Sabrina Zimmel, pitcher/outfield; Tonya Hetland, centerfield; Janna Juntunen, outfield; Alex Anderson, second base; Alida Hovey, pitcher/first base.
JUNIORS – Lauren Silbernick, pitcher/first base; Dani Chisholm, shortstop; Rachelle Rajdl, pitcher/outfield; Kaitlin Deel, catcher; Nicole LeBrun, catcher.
SOPHOMORES – Katie Anderson, second base; Brooke Waldorf, outfield.
FRESHMAN – Mackenzie Staloch.
8TH GRADER – Morgan Silbernick.
COACHES – John Stigman, head coach; Kirsten Wessel, assistant; Brad Zimmel, assistant.