Youth no detriment for StreaksTeam knocks off state-ranked St. John’s Prep
By: Eric Morken, The Osakis Review
The Osakis baseball team has a luxury that looks like a dilemma at first glance.
The Silverstreaks have youth staring them in the face at some of the most important spots in the field. Junior Doug Zimmel at catcher and sophomores Drew Fearing at short, Lane Berberich at second and Hunter Scherr in center anchor this team up the middle.
That would be alarming if these guys were being rushed into varsity action before they were ready. That isn’t the case in Osakis. Not only are many of these guys ready, but they are proving to be leaders on a team that moved to 3-1 with a 3-2 win over conference rival St. John’s Prep last Thursday.
“I have the utmost confidence in our defense, especially up the middle,” head coach Shad Schmidt said. “We’re really strong. We’re young, but we’re really strong.”
Osakis showed that in a key situation in the sixth inning against the Johnnies. The Silverstreaks were clinging to a one-run lead when Jordan Frederick induced a groundball to second base. Berberich fielded the ball cleanly and threw on to Fearing to start a 4-6-3 double play.
“It was a great play by Lane,” Fearing said. “Nine out of 10 times, we’ll make that play. Once in a while it might not happen, but it worked today and we had a good team effort. I felt it was game over [after that]. I thought we had it.”
Frederick made sure they did with a scoreless top of the seventh. He is another sophomore this team relies on heavily as the anchor of the pitching staff. He had 10 strikeouts in a complete-game victory in the season opener.
Frederick followed that up with his second strong start of the season. He got the first two batters he faced in the seventh before running into some trouble. Frederick got to 2-2 on the third batter and felt he struck him out on a close pitch that was called a ball. He followed with another close pitch on a curve that was a little up in the zone.
The Johnnies followed with another walk to put the tying run on second base. Frederick settled down and got the next man he faced to fly out to right field to secure the game.
“There was a couple iffy pitches there,” Frederick said with a smile. “I think I had him. I basically thought, I can’t let anything bad happen. I can’t let my team down, so I got to make good pitches and hopefully get something one of my teammates can get.”
Frederick showed his ability to get out of jams through much of the night. He allowed nine hits but just one earned run. He walked three and struck out four.
Fearing gave him an early lead with an RBI triple in the bottom of the first inning. He then came in to score on an error that got by the third baseman to give Osakis the early 2-0 lead.
The Johnnies got one back in the second and tied it with another in the top of the fourth. They could have gotten more, but Fearing started a double play with runners on first and third and one out.