Osakis Hawks player-manager, Doug Zimmel, wasn't sure if or when the Resorters Baseball League would start. But he did know he was going to put a good team on the field if he got the chance.
The Osakis Hawks dismantled the Kensington Norsemen 13-2 on Sunday night in their season opener. The road win showcased not only a strong group of returning players but also some incoming talent that graduated from high school this spring.
"We have a great team," Doug Zimmel said. "They're a great group of guys, and they're good ballplayers. We all grew up together playing baseball, so this is something we enjoy doing."
The Norsemen broke the scoreless tie in the bottom of the first when Cody Richardson drove in Blake Anderson with an RBI single. The Hawks answered back in the top of the second when Luke Imdieke drove in two runs with a double
Osakis began to take advantage of Kensington's carelessness. The Hawks made it a 3-1 game in the top of the third on an overthrown ball back to the pitcher's mound.
Kilar Zimmel pitched the first four innings while giving up only one run. Carter Rost came in relief and recorded seven straight outs. Imdieke closed out the game with two scoreless innings. Zimmel was impressed with some of the new arms he has at his disposal this summer.
"It's nice that we don't have to ride (Kilar's) arm all season," Doug Zimmel said. "We have good pitchers that throw hard and hit their spots. They're good additions, and I'm glad we have more pitching now. It was my first time catching Carter or Luke today. We are pretty lucky to have them."
The Hawks began to break things open in the top of the seventh when Doug Zimmel drove in two runs with a single. In the eighth inning, Imdieke tallied three more RBIs with a double. The Hawks ended the game with eight unanswered runs to secure their first win of the new season.
"We have 16 guys in the roster this summer, and I think they were pretty excited to get out here," Doug Zimmel said. "Especially those high school kids since they didn't have a season. We got the bats going, and it was a fun win."
While the score was lopsided in favor of the Hawks, both teams were excited to get back to a bit of normalcy. While the Resorters League usually starts in late spring, participating players are taking a better-late-than-never approach.
"I think there's going to be a lot of enthusiasm all summer with it being a short season." Doug Zimmel said. "We're finally able to do something and have some type of sports in our life. It's a great feeling."
The Hawks have put together impressive regular seasons in the past, but have struggled to make it count and turn it into a trip to the state tournament. This year, Zimmel hopes he's put together a team that can get Osakis over the hump.
"It's kind of been the same issue every year for us," Zimmel said. "I think this year could be different with the amount of pitching we have, We were still missing Hunter Infanger and Mason Moore out there tonight, and they'll be arms for us this season. But the goal for us is to get to state."
While Osakis is reaping the benefits of no Legion baseball this summer, other teams in the Resorters League will do the same. While graduated high school seniors would generally play for their Legion squads, the Resorters League is their only local option this summer.
"I think it's good for us to get a lot of these good players in," Doug Zimmel said. "I think it's going to make our league stronger in the future when people can see how much fun we have playing competitive baseball. It's going to be a lot of fun this summer."