The Osakis Hawks baseball team entered Sunday’s quarterfinals of the Region 16C Tournament looking to make a statement that they can be one of the top teams in the field, and the Hawks wasted no time doing that.
Osakis jumped out to a 9-0 lead in the first inning when the Hawks sent 14 men to the plate. Ky Zimmel, Doug Zimmel, Colter Fortenberry, Zach Weir, Derek Waldvogel, Brady Berberich and Drew Fearing all plated a run, and Lane Berberich scored twice in that opening frame. That easily set the tone as the Hawks beat Frazee-Vergas 14-0 to advance in the winners bracket.
“It was great,” player/coach Doug Zimmel said. “Our bats finally woke up in region play now. It was great getting that 9-0 lead right away in the first. It took pressure off everybody.”
Osakis was able to get together one of its better lineups of the season. The Hawks lean on former Osakis High School players who all helped that program rack up a lot of wins over the years. A lot of those guys are coming into their own within the Resorters League and now have the experience that gives the Hawks confidence that they can compete against the better teams in the Region 16C field.
“I’m pretty confident,” D. Zimmel said. “We all have played together for how many years now? We all like to have fun, and the lineup we had there (Sunday), minus (Brandon) Giesler, it’s one of our strongest lineups that we could put on the field.”
The early lead was plenty of support for Ky Zimmel. The hard-throwing righthander was dominant through his five innings of work before he gave way to Tony Baumgartner for the final two frames of the seven-inning contest.
Zimmel struck out five and allowed just a lone single. That came with two outs in the fifth inning when the Loons’ Justin Haskins broke up the perfect game. Baumgartner faced the minimum of six batters over his final two innings as he completed the one-hit shutout.
“As the game goes on, Ky gets better and throws harder,” D. Zimmel said. “He threw a no-hitter against Long Prairie earlier this year when they had their strong lineup there. Catching him, you don’t know which way his fastball is going to tail every time. It’s tricky, but I’ve caught him my whole life so we have that connection. He likes to work fast, so I get the ball back to him as fast as I can, and he’s ready to go.”
Osakis will now face another team out of the Resorters League when the Hawks take on Sauk Centre on Saturday at 8 p.m. in Pelican Rapids. The Titans beat Dent 5-1 this past weekend. Fergus Falls beat Long Prairie 5-4 and Pelican Rapids beat Urbank-Parkers Prairie 8-4 in the top half of the quarterfinal bracket.
Fergus Falls will take on Pelican Rapids at 5 p.m. on Saturday in Pelican Rapids. The winner of that game faces the winner of Osakis and Sauk Centre on Sunday at 5 p.m. in Pelican Rapids. Urbank-Parkers Prairie, Long Prairie, Frazee and Dent are all still alive in the tournament as well after it moved to a double-elimination format after the first round. The Alexandria Black Sox, Kensington Norsemen, Ashby A’s and Millerville Millers all saw their seasons end this past Saturday with first-round losses in the tournament.