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Osakis Legion hopes to get healthy

Osakis’ Clayton Niehoff fouls off a pitch against Morris last Thursday. Niehoff was hit by a pitch later in the at-bat and came around to score. (Blaze Fugina/Echo Press)

The Osakis Legion baseball team has played past a rash of injuries to its players at the start of the summer season to grab an undefeated 5-0 record.

Their most recent game was a 5-1 victory over Morris in Osakis last Thursday. Jordan Frederick picked up another win on the mound with a complete game one-hitter against Morris.

Frederick was fresh off his experience playing left field and pitching at the Play Ball! Minnesota High School Baseball Association all-star series before Thursday’s game and said he wanted to continue the strong week.

“Coming back from the all-star game, I wanted to continue being a leader with everyone, and I feel like I was doing really well out there,” Frederick said. “I had a lot of plays behind me made, too.”

Osakis started off its scoring in the first inning after Drew Fearing scored on a wild pitch and Frederick scored on an RBI single from Ky Zimmel. Osakis increased its lead in the fourth inning with an RBI single by Fearing and a two-run double by Frederick. Clayton Niehoff, Brady Berberich and Fearing each scored a run in the inning.

The five runs were more than enough to stay ahead of Morris with Frederick on the mound. The top of Osakis’ lineup has produced most of their runs this season and said they are feeling confident at the plate.

“We’re all pretty comfortable up there,” Ky Zimmel said. “We’re doing our job, we’re getting runs in when we need to get them in and it’s worked out well so far.”

Head coach Shad Schmidt said he has liked the way the lineup has hit, even with a handful of players out due to injury. The return of Lane Berberich, Douglas Zimmel and Michael Herringshaw should help generate even more offense.

“They are getting on base, they are driving guys in,” Schmidt said. “It’s just going to get better when we get some guys back like Lane and Douglas and Michael.”


Osakis will be one of the smallest towns represented at the Alexandria Legion tournament over the Fourth of July holiday weekend, and they hope to arrive with a healthy lineup.

Schmidt said Lane Berberich, Michael Herringshaw and Douglas Zimmel each have the potential to return from injury and play in the tournament. Lane Berberich had a doctor’s appointment last week to determine if he was ready to return from his shoulder injury, and Douglas Zimmel could have his cast removed this week. Berberich was back playing with the Osakis Hawks this past weekend.

“Things are really looking up,” Schmidt said.

The return of these three players could help bolster Osakis’ pitching depth, as all three have experience making starts on the mound. Finding enough starting pitching has been a small problem for Osakis this season as Frederick has made a majority of the team’s starts.

Schmidt said the team’s other pitchers have thrown well this season when the defense has made the routine plays behind them.

“Our depth is down a little bit, but it looks like it’s going to come back with Ky, Douglas, Lane and Michael,” Schmidt said. “We’re just going to do the best we can until those guys are back and we’ll see where we go from there.”

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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