Softball: Osakis brings back plenty of experience
The Osakis softball team has the pieces in place to be contenders again in the Prairie Conference as the Silverstreaks look to then be a tough out come section tournament time.
The Silverstreaks are coming off a 17-5 season where they won their 10th Prairie Conference title with a perfect 10-0 league record. Osakis lost four players from that team in Morgan Staloch, Jordyn Rajdl, Jessica Gavin and Taylor Eastlund but return 12 letter winners and seven starters who will anchor this group of players.
"We will have a real veteran presence on the team this year and look to those returning players to provide the necessary leadership to our team to ensure that we play Silverstreaks softball," longtime head coach John Stigman said. "Our strength should be that veteran leadership. Also, we have a veteran pitching staff, which should serve us well."
Junior Jaden Klimek anchors that staff with freshman Tia Dykema. Klimek and Dykema both have gotten innings in from a young age and have another year of experience under their belt. Senior Kali Giesler anchors things from behind the plate.
Skyler Schmidt (1B) and Harlie Falzone (IF) join Giesler as a smaller senior class but one that has been a part of this team for three or four years now.
"They know the expectations and the ins and outs of how our team functions," Stigman said. "Our infield is very flexible, with girls playing multiple positions."
The Silverstreaks have two outfield positions to replace. Shea Olson, a junior right fielder, is back to help solidify one of those three spots.
"We have a speedy replacement in Grace Oeltjen in center and several candidates looking to fill the left field spot," Stigman said. "Every year it is a concern on how we are going to replace seniors who graduated. This year the same questions arise. We just continually reassure ourselves that we will fill those needs with quality people and they will do a good job. They always do."
Stigman sees Royalton and Swanville as teams to contend with in the Prairie Conference. Albany, Pillager and Sauk Centre could pose problems in the subsection come 6AA Tournament time, while Albany and Pierz look to be the front-runners in the whole section field, Stigman said.
SENIORS - Kali Giesler, Skyler Schmidt, Harlie Falzone
JUNIORS - Jaden Klimek, Kylie Anderson, Shea Olson, Morgan Herzog, Ellie Clasemann, Aubrey Koep
SOPHOMORES - Cassie LeBrun, Maddie Johanson, Chaeli Falzone
FRESHMEN - Tia Dykema, Grace Oeltjen, Laynee Hartshorn
EIGHTH GRADE - Lexi Klimek, Shelbe Schmidt
COACHES - Head coach - John Stigman - 21st season, 247-140; Assistant coaches - Brad Zimmel, Patrick Stier