Osakis returns players at key positions after year layoff

A group of four seniors will try to help set the tone for a successful Osakis softball season this spring.

Osakis' Laynee Hartshorn slides safely into home during a game in 2019. Hartshorn is back as part of a solid group of returning seniors for the Silverstreaks who are looking to get in a full season on the diamond after the year layoff due to the COVID-19 pandemic for spring sports teams in 2020. (Eric Morken / Echo Press)

Osakis softball has seven letter winners returning to try to lead the Silverstreaks back toward the top of the Prairie Conference.

Osakis went 8-10 the last time it was on the field together in 2019 and finished 6-4 in league play that year. Back from that group are seniors Tia Dykema (SS), Laynee Hartshorn (C), and Grace Oeltjen (CF) and juniors Lexi Klimek (3B/OF), Shelbe Schmidt (P/INF), Hayleigh Niehoff (P/INF) and Kennedy George (OF). Letter winners lost from that team two years ago are Cassie Lebrun, Madisen Johansen and Chaeli Falzone.

“We are happy to be back playing this year after last year’s shutdown,” 23-year head coach John Stigman said. “We return a nucleus of veteran players from the 2019 season in some key positions, including our pitching staff. We also return a nucleus of good hitters from the middle of our lineup, and team speed should be a strength of ours offensively. Defensively, we will be filling our open positions with skilled glove and defensive players.”
Brittany Dietrich (1B), Kali Schoeck (INF), Maggie Dirkes (C/1B), Ellie George (INF), Taylor Dirkes (P/INF), Josee Hartshorn (OF) and Charlee Thieschafer (1B) are some key newcomers who Stigman believes will help add depth as they try to be competitive in the conference and Section 6AA fields.

“Our goals this year are simple: promote each other, protect each other and play with joy,” Stigman said. “Given the circumstances of the last year and ongoing this year, we are happy to be playing. We are especially happy that our seniors this year will get an opportunity to finish their careers, given last year’s seniors did not. We are going to do what we can to stay on the field and finish what we started. Put simply, we want to keep playing until the end.”



SENIORS - Grace Oeltjen, CF; Tia Dykema, SS; Laynee Hartshorn, C; Brittany Dietrich, 1B; JUNIORS - Hayleigh Niehoff, P/2B; Kennedy George, OF; Kali Schoeck, 3B/OF; Lexi Klimek, 3B; Shelbe Schmidt, P/INF; SOPHOMORE - Ellie George - 2B; FRESHMAN - Maggie Dirkes, C; 8TH GRADE - Taylor Dirkes, P/SS; Josee Hartshorn, OF; Charlee Thieschafer, 1B

COACHES - Head coach - John Stigman - 23rd season, 262-160; Assistant coaches - Brad Zimmel, Patrick Stier


April 13 at Upsala, 5 p.m.

April 15 at Swanville, 5 p.m.

April 16 vs. Minnewaska, 4:30 p.m.

April 19 vs. Albany, 4:30 p.m.

April 20 at Royalton, 4:30 p.m.


April 22 at Melrose Area, 4:30 p.m.

April 26 vs. Foley, 3:30 p.m.

April 29 vs. Pillager, 4:30 p.m.

April 30 at LPGE, 5 p.m.

May 4 at Browerville-EV, 5 p.m.

May 6 vs. Swanville, 5 p.m.

May 7 at Staples-Motley, 4:30 p.m.

May 11 vs. Upsala, 5 p.m.


May 13 vs. Pierz, 4:30 p.m.

May 17 vs. Sauk Centre, 4:30 p.m.

May 18 vs. LPGE, 5 p.m.

May 20 at Eden Valley-Watkins, 4:30 p.m.

May 24 vs. Annandale, 4:30 p.m.

May 25 vs. Browerville-EV, 5 p.m.

May 27 at Holdingford, 4:30 p.m.

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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