The Osakis Hawks are used to having a great start to the Resorters league baseball season. Now they hope their bats don't disappear in the regional tournament.
An 8-3 win over the Ashby Athletics on Sunday afternoon improved the Hawks record to 8-1. Veteran utility player Doug Zimmel has seen this young team put up big numbers in the regular season before.
"It's been a great season so far. It's still tough getting everybody on the roster to make every game," he said. "We've been through this the last five years - having a winning record in the regular season. In the past, when we got to the regional tournament, we would lose 4-0, 4-2 and couldn't score runs. It's a hump we are looking to get over this year."
Osakis had no shortage of run support on Sunday. First baseman Brandon Giesler had three RBI's on two hits.
Tony Baumgartner started on the mound and threw four innings. He allowed three runs and before moving to right field. Derek Waldvogel came in relief and allowed four hits in the final five innings.
"It was good to get a win," Zimmel said. "To come out of the weekend with two wins is always a good feeling. Derek did a nice job of shutting things down in the end there and we were able to get a lot of guys on base."
Sunday's game was the second contest of the weekend for the Hawks. On Saturday night, Osakis beat the Urbank-Parkers Prairie Bombers 3-2. The Hawks have won five straight games heading into their June 30 matchup against the Millerville Millers.
"I think the guys in the dugout can feel the intensity a little more as we get closer to the postseason," Zimmel said. "For some reason, our bats just go cold at the wrong time."
The silver lining in Osakis' playoff woes is they know the problem at hand they have to address. Getting more repetitions with the bats in their hands is part of rewriting their narrative.
"Obviously we need to get more swings in and try to get everybody to take some batting practice during the week," Zimmel said. "We are still a young team but a lot of these guys have the experience regions. We just have to hope for the best."
Part of playing in the Resorters League is the camaraderie between area teams. During the game, the players from Ashby and Osakis shared laughs with each other."
"I think getting to know all the guys from the teams we play is one of the best parts about playing," Zimmel said. "There's never any hostility. We are all here for the same reason. We want to play a game we love and have a good time doing so."