The Osakis softball bats had been bottled up for more than a year, and they came out swinging in the 2021 season opener during a 17-1 win over Swanville on Thursday.
The Silverstreaks scored nine runs in the first inning and never looked back.
“Going into the game, the goal was to settle in and get comfortable. Basically, play hard, have fun, and support each other,” Osakis head coach John Stigman said. “Given we have not played a game in 18 months, comfort and easing any nerves was probably our most important goal. Starting your first inning back with a 9-0 lead helps do that. It was good to see us come out and just play hard and play determined, given the long layoff. We are proud of this team for handling themselves well. Getting a win in this was just an added bonus.”
Grace Oeltjen had a three-hit night to lead the charge. That included a double and a triple as she also drove in a run. Shelbe Schmidt had two hits and two RBIs, while Kennedy George, Tia Dykema and Hayleigh Niehoff each had two-hit games, as well.
“We had a very solid outcome from just about every part of the game,” Stigman said. “We pitched well. We hit well and we were very patient at the plate. We did not give in on our hitting zone. We made their pitcher work. Defensively, we were solid.”
All the offense made life easier on Schmidt from the rubber. She got the win by tossing three innings and striking out three, while allowing two hits.
It was a good feeling for these coaches and players to be back on the diamond as Osakis now looks ahead to its home opener on Friday at 4:30 p.m. when Minnewaska comes to town.
“I have to admit, it was a strange feeling being back on the field and you could sense a nervous excitement,” Stigman said. “After that last out, there was a normalcy that returned. When you look at the faces of these players, you can see the joy and happiness to be back playing. It has been a long 18 months. We will take that happiness and joy as a win in itself.”
OSAKIS 920 0X - 17 13 0
SWANVILLE 000 1X - 1 5 2
OSAKIS PITCHING - Shelbe Schmidt - W, 3IP, 2H, 0ER, 0BB, 3SO
OSAKIS OFFENSE - Grace Oeltjen - 3-4, 2B, 3B, RBI; Kennedy George - 2-3, RBI; Tia Dykema - 2-4, RBI; Schmidt - 2-3, 3 RBI; Hayleigh Niehoff - 2-2, 2 RBI; Lexi Klimek - 1 hit; Ellie George - 1 hit