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Silverstreaks honor record-setting year

Osakis wraps up the season playing its best softball on the way to finishing in the top four of a talented Section 6AA field.

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Osakis softball All-Prairie Conference award winners are (left to right) Kennedy George (honorable-mention), Tia Dykema, Grace Oeltjen and Laynee Hartshorn. Not pictured is Hayleigh Niehoff (honorable-mention). (Contributed photo)
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The Osakis softball team featured a group of players who tied or broke multiple school records this past season, and that gave the Silverstreaks plenty to honor at its season-ending banquet.

Osakis averaged 10.3 runs per game. That was second most to only section champion Annandale (25-3) in the Section 6AA field. The Cardinals averaged 11.2 runs per game.

Offensive records broken for Osakis included team triples (15), team RBIs (193), individual season at-bats (Grace Oeltjen, 87) and season runs scored (Tia Dykema, 45).

Oeltjen also tied the school record for most triples in a season with six, and Hayleigh Niehoff tied a record for the most pitching appearances (21) and set a record for the most no-hitters in a season with two (vs. Minnewaska and Swanville).

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Hayleigh Niehoff

Niehoff threw a team-high 91 1/3 innings. She finished 10-5 with a 4.60 ERA, 71 strikeouts and 55 walks. Shelbe Schmidt added a 5-3 record.

Oeltjen earned two team honors for Osakis as she took home the Gold Glove Award as the top defensive player, and the Most Valuable Player Award. She hit .437 and added six doubles and three home runs to her six triples, while finishing with 22 RBIs and 40 runs scored.

Oeltjen, who will play softball at Minnesota State University-Moorhead, was All-Prairie Conference with teammates Laynee Hartshorn and Dykema. Junior Kennedy George (.329 AVG, 16 RBIs, 23 runs) and Niehoff (.412 BA, 22 RBIs, 24 runs) were honorable-mention all-conference athletes after the Silverstreaks finished second in the league.

Dykema is playing tennis at the collegiate level in Moorhead, but her postseason accolades show what kind of softball player she is too. The senior was the Prairie Conference co-MVP and a second-team all-state award winner. Dykema earned Osakis’ Silver Stick Award as the team’s top hitter. She had a team-best .467 average in 75 at-bats. Dykema also led Osakis in RBIs (31) and runs scored (45) as she finished with six doubles, five triples and two home runs.

Maggie Dirkes, a freshman, and senior Laynee Hartshorn also won team honors. Dirkes was the Most Improved Player Award winner after hitting .328 with 18 RBIs and 12 runs scored. Hartshorn earned the Silverstreak Award as the top team player. She tied Oeltjen for the team lead in home runs with three, while hitting at a .359 clip that included eight doubles, two triples, 25 RBIs and 22 runs scored.

The Silverstreaks played their best softball during the postseason as they made a run to the final four of the Section 6AA field. Kennedy George, Niehoff and Oeltjen earned all-section honors for helping to lead the way in that postseason run.

Osakis was also successful in the classroom where the Silverstreaks earned a team academic silver award with a GPA between 3.5 and 3.75. Brittany Dietrich, Dykema and Oeltjen were seniors who earned individual academic all-state recognition.

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PRAIRIE CONFERENCE ACADEMIC AWARD WINNERS -- Maggie Dirkes, Ellie George, Josee Hartshorn, Taylor Dirkes, Charlee Thieschafer, Tia Dykema, Grace Oeltjen, Brittany Dietrich, Shelbe Schmidt, Kennedy George, Lexi Klimek

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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