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State baseball team reunited

Osakis’ Drew Fearing takes a cut during the Legion baseball game against Glenwood at Knute Nelson Ballpark on Monday afternoon. The game got rained out, but Fearing and his teammates have high hopes of putting together a special summer season this year with the addition of some of the 2013 graduating seniors. (Blaze Fugina/Echo Press)

This summer’s Osakis Legion baseball season will give players from the 2013 high school state second place team one last chance to gain postseason success together.

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The Legion team is made up of Osakis High School players from last season and two key contributors from 2013 – Doug Zimmel and Ky Zimmel.

At a game against Glenwood that was rained out on Monday at Knute Nelson Ballpark in Alexandria, head coach Shad Schmidt said he was able to reach a decision to let the seniors from the 2013 team earn some playing time with the Legion this summer. Players must be between the ages of 13 and 19 to be eligible for American Legion Baseball.

“Do you really want them taking playing time away from guys you need to develop from high school? No, but at the same time it’s the last opportunity for basically the 2013 team to play together,” said Schmidt, who also coaches the Osakis High School baseball team. “So we kind of made concessions this year that we are going to let them play, and ride them out and hopefully meet our goals.”

The players have set out with the goal to not only make an appearance at the state tournament this season, but to advance to the national tournament.

“This year we have the team, the dream team, and the coach back,” Jordan Frederick said.

The return of Doug and Ky Zimmel will help add some depth to the Legion baseball team that Osakis did not have during the 2014 high school season. Both can pitch when healthy, and Doug Zimmel can play multiple positions in both the infield and the outfield.

“When you have Douglas and Ky, they both can pitch, Doug can catch, he can play first and third, he can even play outfield,” Schmidt said. “It’s definitely nice having those guys.”

Osakis will need its players to get healthy in order to achieve its goals to reach the state tournament. Right now Lane Berberich is still healing from a shoulder injury, Michael Herringshaw is resting a meniscus knee injury, Doug Zimmel is healing from a broken hand and Ky Zimmel said he is resting tendonitis in his arm.

“We’re working through it. It’s the beginning of the season,” Ky Zimmel said. “Hopefully we can get all of these injuries out of the way by the end when it really matters.”

Schmidt said he hopes that everyone will be healthy enough to return to the playing field by the Alexandria Fourth of July Legion Tournament. Even with these current injuries, Osakis has already started the Legion season 2-0 with 10-run victories over Long Prairie and West Central Area. Osakis led Glenwood 5-0 in the third inning on Monday in Alexandria before heavy rain postponed the game.

Osakis hopes this winning will continue throughout the Legion season and into the postseason.

“We’re just looking to do the same thing we did in high school - just win that last game and then we can go to nationals,” Ky Zimmel said. “That’s definitely our number one goal.”

Blaze Fugina

Blaze Fugina is the sports editor of the Woodbury and South Washington County Bulletin newspapers. Previously, Blaze worked as a sports editor for the Pierce County Herald and a sports reporter for the Alexandria Echo Press. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls in May of 2011. You can follow Blaze on Twitter at @BlazeFugina.

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