Legion baseball: Osakis rally dashed in 6-5 playoff loss
Down to the season’s last strike, Logan Hartshorn kept the Osakis legion baseball team alive.
Going deep into his seventh-inning at-bat, Hartshorn eventually won the lengthy battle by smashing a two-RBI double to the wall in left field, capping a three-run comeback in the West Central East Pod on Sunday for a 5-5 tie with Sauk Centre in Osakis.
“I saw a fastball right down the middle. I thought, ‘This is my chance. I’ve got to make it hurt,’” Hartshorn said. “That was my mindset: Don’t back down, just keep grinding.”
As it turned out, though, it only extended the season by half an inning.
Second-seeded Sauk Centre regrouped and came back in the bottom of the seventh, using a leadoff double and later a sharp single to produce a walk-off winner, eliminating third-seeded Osakis from the postseason with the 6-5 victory.
“They wanted it, too,” Hartshorn said. “We knew that they weren’t going to stop.”
Dylan Haskamp scored the game-winning run from second base on a single by Alex Kowski. Haskamp would have stopped at third, setting up a bases-loaded situation with no outs, but a fielding error in the outfield gave Haskamp the time he needed for a headfirst slide into home.
“(Haskamp) was able to come out and lead off with a double. That’s what good players do, and I give him all the credit,” Osakis head coach Bill Infanger said. “He pitched a great game, and then he really had the big hit that got them back into it, gave them the momentum.”
Prior to the bottom of the seventh, however, it looked as if Haskamp wouldn't need to spark any late-game heroics.
Osakis scratched across two runs in the bottom of the second, Luke Staloch on an error and Isaac Froemming on a wild pitch. But afterwards, the Osakis offense went cold, going quietly over the next four frames.
Sauk Centre, meanwhile, built up a seemingly comfortable lead. They posted their first run in the first inning off an Osakis error, and they took a 3-2 lead in the third on a bloop, two-RBI single for Kowski.
They added pair of insurance runs in the fourth when Haskamp singled on a sharp ground ball up the middle, plating two for a 5-2 score that held through the sixth inning.
Still, Infanger said Osakis knew it had a chance despite their season being on the line and their backs up against the wall.
“Everybody gets tired at the end of games. Us getting into our third, fourth at-bats against (Haskamp), we were starting to catch up to him. We were sitting on his offspeed a little bit better there at the end. We were able to drag the inning out long enough to score those three runs and force it to the bottom of the seventh.”
Jarret Seela first got aboard with a one-out walk. Soon after, he scored when Luke Imdieke reached on a two-out error by Andrew Bick -- the Sauk shortstop’s second in as many plays. It gave Hartshorn a chance to step to the plate with the tying run on first base.
“Right away, coach pulled me over,” Hartshorn said. “He said, ‘(Imdieke) needs to score. So, double or triple -- I won’t accept anything less.’ He kind of made that as a joke, but the whole at-bat, I was thinking of that. I was swinging for the fence because I knew I had to get (him) over.”
Imdieke took second base on catcher’s indifference, and then he tied the game by scoring on Hartshorn’s shot to left. But the swing in momentum wasn’t enough to keep Sauk Centre from stealing it back for the win, as the short-lived rally couldn’t carry Osakis into extra innings.
“This team really came around in the middle of the season,” coach Infanger said despite the loss. “We won seven or eight in a row going into this game. And then to be down in this game and come back, never quit and never give up… it made for a fun season. We showed a lot of growth.”
OSAKIS 020 000 3 - 5 4 3
SAUK CENTRE 102 200 1 - 6 8 5
OSAKIS PITCHING: Carter Rost - 5 IP, 6 H, 5 R, 4 ER, 5 BB, 7 SO; Luke Imdieke - L, 2 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 0 SO.
OSAKIS BATTING: Carter Rost - 0-3, SB, BB, 2 K; Hunter Infanger - 0-4, 1 run, K; Luke Imdieke - 1-4, 1 run, 2B, K; Logan Hartshorn - 1-4, 2 RBI, 2B; Reid DeWenter - 1-4, 2 K; Luke Staloch - 0-3, 1 run, K; Isaac Froemming - 1-3, 1 run, K; Mason Moore - 0-3, K; Jarret Seela - 0-2, 1 run, SB, BB.