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Softball: Osakis gets the bats going in wins over LPGE, Lara Drum hits walk-off in game one

Osakis scores 29 runs in doubleheader to win its first games of the season

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Osakis' Lara Drum hits the ball in play in a game against LPGE on May 3, 2022. Drum had three hits in four at-bats, include a walk-off two-RBI single to end game one.
Sam Stuve / Alexandria Echo Press

OSAKIS- Trailing Long Prairie-Grey Eagle 8-3 in the bottom of the seventh in game one of a doubleheader, the Osakis softball team needed a spark.

The Silverstreaks found that spark and they cut their deficit to just one run with runners on second and third and two outs with senior Lara Drum at the plate.

Drum has been in and out of the starting lineup so far in this young season, and in game one of Thursday’s doubleheader, she was out of the starting lineup.

But when she was called in to pinch hit, she delivered. After battling back from down 0-2, Drum made it a full count and rifled the 3-2 pitch right back up the middle, through the infield and knocked in both runners to give Osakis the 9-8 win, its first of the season.

“Honestly, I was really scared that I was going to get out and then we weren't going to win it,” Drum said about her thoughts before the at-bat. “I was super happy when I got the hit. It was like a wave of relief that came over me.”

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The Osakis bench celebrates as Lara Drum hits a walk-off two-RBI single to win the first half of doubleheader against LPGE on May 3, 2022.
Sam Stuve / Alexandria Echo Press

Osakis head coach John Stigman said Drum was brought in because of her ability to make good contact.

“She’s a really good line-drive hitter and with a speedy runner on second, on a good line drive through, we knew (the runner) was going to score,” Stigman said. “She made great contact, got it through and it was great hitting. She's been more of a reserve for us, but she's done a great job. Most of the things she hits, she hits on a line. She does everything. She's just a great team player and does anything you ask her to.”

In the two games on Tuesday, Drum had three hits in four at-bats, knocked in four runs and scored three times herself. Drum’s walk-off two-RBI single capped off a six-run final inning for the Silverstreaks (2-7).

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Osakis' Lara Drum hits the ball in play in a game against LPGE on May 3, 2022. Drum came off the bench a delivered a walk-off two-RBI double to give Osakis one of its two wins against LPGE.
Sam Stuve / Alexandria Echo Press

Osakis struggled to get the bats going early in game one.

“We were struggling the whole game. We weren't getting real good swings and our timing was off a little bit,” Stigman said. “It was a matter of time here before our bats got going. Anytime with a rally, you need to string a couple of hits together. That's what we were missing most of the game. Then we finally got that going in the seventh.”

The come-from-behind victory in game one gave the Silverstreaks an extra boost of momentum heading into game two.

“I think it built a lot of momentum, or cheering really helped us out there,” sophomore Maggie Dirkes said.

The Silverstreaks’ bats caught fire as they scored 20 runs in a 20-13 win over the Thunder (0-5).

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“I think we definitely feel a little bit more confident because we've been having such a tough time,” Drum said.

Osakis had 17 hits in game two, led by senior third baseman Lexi Klimek who had four hits on five at-bats and a game-high six RBIs.

The Silverstreaks' offense was most lethal in the top of the fifth inning when it scored 10 runs to increase their lead to 17-7. Drum, Klimek, Dirkes, freshman Taylor Dirkes and seniors Averie Moundson and Hayleigh Niehoff all had at least two hits in game two.

Osakis also took advantage of five fielding errors by LPGE.

The Silverstreaks had 23 hits in the two games combined. They were also patient at the plate as they drew 10 walks.

“I'm feeling pretty good about where we're going,” Stigman said. “We've got some building to do. We've got some good seniors and good leadership. We just have to make sure that we bring our younger ones up and get to the point where we're going to be a lot more competitive. It’s coming. We had good swings from our young players today. We had good defensive plays from our young players. As long as we keep doing that, we'll be okay.”

A handful of Osakis’ losses could’ve gone the other way. Five have come by two runs or less.

This Osakis team is a mix of older and younger players as there are seven seniors, two sophomores and three freshmen on the varsity team.

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Sitgman said they are trying to get the underclassmen to where the seniors are at and are trying to develop consistency.

“It's going to be a work in progress,” Stigman said. “We've seen just in the last four games, we’re kind of improving on that. It's going to take some time yet, but we're getting there. We can't give up leads. We have to make sure that we come on every inning and take care of the ball every play. And then make sure that our pitchers don't hurt themselves.”

For the Silverstreaks, getting their first wins of the season at home made the doubleheader sweep a little sweeter.

“It was really good,” Drum said. “We were all waiting for it to happen and we made it happen.”

Niehoff pitched the entire first game in the pitcher's circle and had seven strikeouts. Senior Shelbe Schmidt pitched most of game two. She had one strikeout in 5.2 innings. Niehoff pitched the final inning of game two and recorded another strikeout.

Osakis is back at home on Thursday for a doubleheader with Browerville-Eagle Valley beginning at 4 p.m.

Game one -

LPGE - 1 0 2 0 0 5 0 - 8

OSAKIS - 1 0 1 1 0 0 6 - 9

OSAKIS PITCHING - Hayleigh Niehoff - W - 7 IP, 10 H, 8 R, 5 ER, 4 BB, 7 SO

OSAKIS HITTING - Lexi Klimek, 0-2; Hayleigh Niehoff, 1-4; Maggie Dirkes, 0-3; Shelbe Schmidt, 1-3; Kennedy George, 0-3; Charlee Theischafer, 2-4; Josee Hartshorn, 0-4; Taylor, 1-3; Kali Schoeck, 0-2; Lara Drum, 1-2

Game two -

OSAKIS - 0 2 5 0 10 0 3 - 20

LPGE - 1 1 0 5 2 4 0 - 13

OSAKIS PITCHING - Shelbe Schmidt - W - 5.2 IP, 11 H, 12 R, 5 ER, 4 BB, 1 SO; Hayleigh Niehoff - 1 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 SO

OSAKIS HITTING - Lexi Klimek, 4-5; Hayleigh Niehoff, 2-5; Maggie Dirkes, 3-4; Shelbe Schmidt, 0-4; Kennedy George, 1-6; Josee Harthorn, 0-2; Taylor Dirkes, 2-5; Averie Moundson, 2-2; Lara Drum, 2-2; Kali Schoeck, 1-3

Sam Stuve covers a variety of sports in the Douglas County area. He also is assigned to do some news stories as well.
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