The Osakis Legion baseball team was able to get its offense going in its second game on Saturday in the West Central sub-state tournament at Minnewaska Area High School..
After being held to four hits in the first two games of the tournament, a fourth-inning breakthrough led Osakis, the second seed, to a 4-0 win over fourth-seeded Morris in an elimination game. Luke Staloch drove in Hunter Infanger with a sacrifice fly before Waylon Muenzhuber drove in the second run of the game with an RBI single.
“The bats weren’t what they have been lately before that inning,” head coach Bill Infanger said. “When we were able to string a couple hits together and get that lead, I think they relaxed and started playing their game.”
Two runs was all the support starting pitcher Isaac Froemming needed to get a win. He threw a complete-game shutout allowing just five hits. Froemming did not give up a hit in his last four innings on the mound.
“It feels amazing to get this win,” Froemming said. “I’m glad I could get in there and help out the team. We turned it around today.”
Froemming was given insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth inning. Staloch drove in his second run of the game with an RBI single to give Osakis a 3-0 lead. Froemming helped himself with a two-out RBI single.
“There’s leadership in this dugout, which makes it easy for me as a coach,” Infanger said. “I hardly ever have to get after them. Most of the time, the roles are reversed. We’re the ones having to tell them to loosen up and relax. I think that’s part of how good this team really can be.”
Osakis’ 4-0 win came after a heartbreaking 2-1 loss to top-seeded Breckenridge. After five scoreless innings, Infanger scored on a wild pitch. The 1-0 lead came before Osakis was able to get its first hit of the game.
In the bottom of the sixth, Breckenridge scored on a fielder’s choice and a sacrifice fly to take a 2-1 lead.
“We saw some really good pitching in our first two games,” Infanger said. “We had only three hits against (Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunberg) and almost won without a hit against Breckenridge. How many times have you seen that? I think our pitching and our defense is doing really well right now and I think the bats will keep trending in the right direction for tomorrow.”
Osakis had a chance to tie the game in the top of the seventh. With no outs, Froemming and Mason Moore both reached on walks to knock starting pitcher Jonah Painter out of the game. Muenzhuber drove the lone hit into centerfield, advancing the runners. As centerfielder Jeremy Stack bobbled the ball, Froemming rounded third and headed for home. However, the throw was in time as Breckenridge held its 2-1 lead. Osakis’ next two batters would be retired sending them to the elimination bracket.
“They’re a good team,” Froemming said. “They don’t make a ton of mistakes and they’re aggressive. We didn’t hit well against them. I think we have what it takes to beat them twice tomorrow.”
Osakis needs to beat Breckenridge twice on Sunday if they want to advance as the West Central champion to the state tournament. The first game is at 12 p.m. in Minnewaska. Infanger is confident that his guys have enough gas left in the tank for two more games.”
“We have three pitchers left that have varsity experience,” he said. “Hunter (Infanger) was one of our main guys but he’s been the starting catcher this summer and hasn’t thrown a ton of innings. Mason Moore has developed into one of our top arms and he’s ready to go. We play a good team tomorrow but if we play our game I think we can come away with two wins.”