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Osakis softball: Kaelke ignites late rally in 5-3 win over Chargers

Osakis freshman Alecia Kaelke was all smiles as her teammates greeted her at home plate after she drove a two-run home run over the left field fence to give the Silverstreaks a 2-1 lead in the sixth inning on Monday. (Eric Morken/Echo Press)

Osakis freshman Alecia Kaelke struck out in her first two at-bats before making up for that with one swing on Monday night.

The Silverstreaks softball team was trailing Brandon-Evansville 1-0 entering the bottom of the sixth inning when Krista Fearing drew a leadoff walk. That brought Kaelke to the plate from the third spot in the order.

Head coach John Stigman wouldn’t normally bunt with his third-place hitter, but with Fearing representing the tying run he had Kaelke bunting on the first pitch. After a foul ball and a stolen base by Fearing, Kaelke got the go-ahead to swing and unleashed a two-run home run to left field that led to a 5-3 win over the Chargers. It also gave Stigman win number 200 for his career.

“I went in with Krista on second and I knew I had to get her home somehow,” Kaelke said. “I was just ready and focused a lot to hit it. 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.”

That hit opened the floodgates for Osakis as the Silverstreaks sent nine batters to the plate in a five-run sixth inning. Morgan Silbernick followed two batters later with a double and was singled home by Jenna Fearing. Three batters later, it was freshman Jordyn Rajdl’s turn to get the big hit as she drilled a two-run double that proved to be the difference in the game.

“I just think in my mind, if it’s a strike just hit it as hard as you can in a good spot,” Rajdl said. “Be smart, get the runs in just like coach tells us.”

The Silverstreaks needed those two runs after Brandon-Evansville got two back in the top of the seventh. Ninth-place hitter Morgan Stelzer made things interesting with a two-out, two-run home run that came after a Kennedy Lund single. Megan Kokett followed with a well-hit ball to center field, but Brooke Waldorf made a running catch near the warning track to end the game.

Chargers senior pitcher Kinsley Randt took the loss despite cruising through the first five innings. She allowed just two hits and two walks up until the sixth when Osakis finally started to square up some pitches.

“I just think they’re some really good hitters,” Brandon-Evansville head coach Kasi Huschle said. “They caught up to her and really got clicking. They got going. That’s just the way it goes. [Kinsley] was throwing well. She was hitting her spots, and they were able to hit it where we weren’t.”

Osakis senior Amber Giese matched Randt pitch for pitch to keep her team in it late into the game before the offense got going. The Chargers’ only run through six innings came in the third when Kokett led off with a walk, stole second and later scored on a groundout to short.

Giese had just two 1-2-3 innings but worked her way through trouble to get her team’s eighth win. She allowed the three runs on four hits and two walks.

“She worked in and out of trouble a little bit, which is probably as good a sign as anything that she gets a couple runners on and she’s able to work through it,” Stigman said. “I thought today was a little bit gutsier. She didn’t have her best stuff today. She struggled with her control, but she made good pitches when she needed to. We had a couple innings there where we were in danger of being down big early, and she worked her way out of it.”

The win moved Osakis to 8-2 on the season and dropped Brandon-Evansville to 6-7. It’s a strong start for a Silverstreaks team that came into the year with a lot of inexperience at the varsity level.

“We’re definitely a younger team than we have been before,” Rajdl said. “We’re not a weak team. That’s what’s surprising everybody since we’re so young. We have a lot of talent, and we’ve definitely shown that throughout our games. We’re always getting better.”

Eric Morken

Eric Morken is the sports and outdoor editor at the Echo Press and Osakis Review newspapers in Douglas County, MN. Follow him on Twitter at echo_sports.

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