New look Osakis team hits the diamond with a pair of head coaches

Kendell Proell and Bill Infanger are taking over as the co-head coaches for the 2021 spring baseball season after Shad Schmidt stepped down last May.

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Kendell Proell (left) and Bill Infanger (right) close out the Osakis baseball practice with a team meeting on Apr. 6, 2021. Proell and Infanger took on the co-head coaching duties after Shad Schmidt stepped down last May after 13 seasons. (Jared Rubado / Echo Press)

Kendell Proell always wanted to be a head coach. He just didn't know it would end up being in his hometown.

After a couple of years coaching baseball and teaching in Browerville, Proell moved back to Osakis with his family. The former Silverstreaks' football and baseball player is putting on the red uniform as a head coach for the first time. But he won't be alone.

Longtime head football coach and assistant baseball coach Bill Infanger is splitting the head coaching duties with Proell for the foreseeable future.

"It feels good to be back," Proell said. "We just moved our family from Browerville. I'm really excited to not only get the opportunity to coach but to coach with Bill. It's great, and we're having a lot of fun."

The duo replaced Shad Schmidt, who coached the Silverstreaks to a 157-106-1 record over 13 seasons. Schmidt led Osakis to its only state tournament appearance in program history in 2013, where the Silverstreaks took second in Class A. Infanger understands how big the shoes are to fill.


"He's very tough to replace," Infanger said. "He had so much success here over the years. Taking a team to the state championship game is so impressive. We're just trying to continue the baseball culture coach Schmidt left us. We work hard, have fun and do things the right way. That starts at the youth level."

Proell and Infanger have a new-look Osakis team to work with in their first season.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 season was canceled, and the Silverstreaks lost a loaded senior class without stepping on the field. The new season will bring new faces up and down the lineup, with many underclassmen getting a chance to prove themselves.

"I think we've instilled that we are going to learn from every game," Proell said. "We know we are going to make mistakes, but we want to be playing our best baseball at the end of the season. If we can get better every single game and learn from that, we'll do just fine."

While Proell is new to the scene, Infanger has been around the baseball community in Osakis for years. He believes the only thing getting in the way of success is inexperience.

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Waylon Muentzhuber throws the ball to first base during the Osakis baseball team's infield practice on Apr. 6, 2021. Muentzhuber is one of the only seniors Osakis brings back for the 2021 season. (Jared Rubado / Echo Press)

"The way we are going to handle inexperience is controlling the things we can control," Infanger said. "If we buy into the fact that we don't know where we are at right now, but we can be a better team by the end of the year, then we'll get there. This is going to be a really good baseball team. We just don't know if that's going to happen early or late in the season. It might not happen until next year, but we know we have the guys that are going to compete for the section one day."


A challenge for coaches across the state is dealing with the COVID-19 virus. The 2021 spring season brings potential quarantines, cancelations and shutdowns, which is an added load for Proell to carry in his first season.

"We just keep telling ourselves to go day-by-day," Proell said. "The kids we've got are the kids we've got. I'm not sure how we're going to handle some of these situations if they come up for us, but we'll do our best. We are committed to this team and growing this program."

As the head football coach, Infanger saw his first two games cut from the schedule due to having to quarantine after a positive case within the program. He feels more comfortable dealing with the uncertainty during this spring season.

"When it was all happening for the first time in football, there were a ton of questions in your head about how to handle all of it," Infanger said. "Having been through that and seeing basketball have a whole season without any issues, the worry level is way down. We're going to deal with it. There are guidelines that we're going to follow. Whether you like wearing a mask or not, we can do that so we can play baseball."

There's a feeling-out process for Proell and Infanger in the first two weeks of practice. A big help in recognizing what players can do on this roster is being able to play outside.

"It's been really good," Proell said. "We were planning on being inside for the first couple of weeks. To get outside and see the arm talent we have is promising. We are still working on a few pieces, but we are really excited about it."

Proell provides Infanger with a fresh set of eyes on a new team. Getting the contrast of experience between the coaches with the new and old Silverstreaks is one of the benefactors of tag-teaming the head coaching role.

"Any time you bring a young coach in, they have the energy right away," Infanger said. "They relate to the guys so well. The guys like playing for him and having him as a coach. It puts everybody in a good mood having that youthful energy as a head coach. He's got different ideas that we've compared to everything we've been doing over the years. It's exciting and a fresh start for all of us."

Jared Rubado is the sports editor for the Detroit Lakes Tribune and the Perham Focus. He moved to the area in September of 2021 after covering sports for the Alexandria Echo Press for nearly three years. Jared graduated from the University of Augustana in 2018 with degrees in journalism and sports managment.
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