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Osakis baseball has plenty of pieces in place

Osakis baseball coach Shad Schmidt looks at the roster this spring season and admits it's hard not to get too excited about the potential of this team.

Osakis baseball coach Shad Schmidt looks at the roster this spring season and admits it's hard not to get too excited about the potential of this team.

He knows a lot of things have to go right for the Silverstreaks to reach their goals. Health will play a large role, along with the guys buying in to the kind of work it will take to make it happen. But if everything falls into place, Schmidt is as optimistic about this season as he has ever been as the coach of this program.

"This is the best team on paper and by experience that we have fielded since I have started coaching," he said as he enters his seventh season at the helm.

Success usually hinges on pitching in baseball and Osakis has a good arm to lean on at the top of its rotation. Junior Jordan Frederick enters the season as the clear-cut ace of this team after finishing 5-3 with a 2.02 ERA in 52 innings pitched as a sophomore.

The guys behind him return with a bunch of experience as well. Doug Zimmel was the Prairie Conference Co-MVP last season. Grayson Fortenberry, Lane Berberich, Hunter Scherr and Brandon Giesler provide pitching depth, while Kilar Zimmel might get a chance to throw after missing all of last season with a knee injury.

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Doug Zimmel had a 0.95 ERA in 29 1/3 innings last season. He allowed just 21 hits and three walks, while also being a weapon for this team at catcher.

Zimmel was dominant at the plate last year, as well. His 36 hits and .537 batting average were both school records, while his 32 RBIs were the second most in program history.

Zimmel is one of three players back who hit above .400 a year ago. Drew Fearing and Frederick join him as returning all-conference play- ers after hitting .403 and .426, respectively. Berber-ich and Scherr were also honorable-mention players.

The wildcard for this team could be the play of Kilar Zimmel. He was an all-conference player his sophomore year before hurting his knee during the 2011-2012 basketball season. Zimmel has since come back from the injury to start in both football and basketball this school year.

"If Ky can come back to like he was as a sophomore all-conference player, he can be that guy at number five [in the lineup] to protect Doug," Schmidt said. "I am excited to see where a Hunter Scherr and Brandon Giesler fit in the lineup. Not to mention, we still have Austin Rollag, Grayson, John Piekarski, Taylor Weispfennig and Alex Mertens.

"Our 2010 team that made it to the section finals was a great team that could go down as possibly one of Osakis' best ever," Schmidt said. "But in all honesty, this year's team on paper and their experience can be better. I can't wait to find out."

Related Topics: BASEBALL
Eric Morken is a sports and outdoor editor at the Echo Press Newspaper in Alexandria, Minnesota, a property of the Forum News Service. Morken covers a variety of stories throughout the Douglas County area, as well as statewide outdoor issues.
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