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Legion baseball: Osakis gets a boost of confidence with a title in Monte

Osakis' Hunter Infanger pitches during a legion game on June 21. Infanger got the ball in Sunday's championship at the Montevideo Tournament and got the win after allowing one earned run in the 6-5 victory over New London-Spicer. (Micah Friez / Osakis Review)

The Osakis legion baseball team features a core group of players who were sophomores and juniors this past spring who coaches want to see continued progress from this summer.

They like what they saw this weekend. Osakis went to the Montevideo Tournament on Saturday and Sunday and came back with a championship after going 3-0.

“A lot of these guys are junior legion age and getting to see some good legion pitching,” Osakis coach Bill Infanger said. “To come down here and win a tournament in Monte, it shows growth.”

Osakis battled back from deficits in all three games to secure their wins. The title came with a 6-5 victory over New London-Spicer.

That was after a 2-1 win against a Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton program that went 23-4 and made the Class AA state tournament this past high school season. Osakis opened up the weekend with a 6-5 win over Montevideo on Saturday morning.

“The pitching was really solid last weekend and this weekend,” Infanger said. “Carter (Rost), Luke (Imdieke) and Hunter (Infanger) each almost pitched complete games. They did a really good job of giving us a chance to win both weekends. The big difference this weekend was lack of errors and then really timely hitting. We had some guys really step up and get hits in big moments at the end of games.”

Osakis got a solid start from H. Infanger in Sunday’s championship. The soon-to-be junior scattered six hits and six walks, but allowed just one earned run, while striking out five.

The offense saw six different guys get hits as Luke Staloch led the way by going 3-for-3. Imdieke had two hits and a sacrifice bunt. Jarret Seela added two hits. Logan Hartshorn had a hit and two RBIs, and Rost reached base every time with a hit and three walks.

“He hit mid .300s this year and had a nice high school season (at the plate),” coach Infanger said of Rost. “He’s on a tear right now in legion. He’s hitting close to .500.”

Rost got the game-tying hit against DGF in their second game of the tournament. That came in the sixth inning before DGF turned a double play to get out of a jam in a 1-1 game.

That just set the stage for a walk-off win in the seventh when Luke Staloch and Waylan Muenzhuber both singled ahead of a game-winning hit by Seela down the third-base line.

“Seela had a great tournament,” Infanger said. “He’s really coming around and hitting the ball well here at the end of the legion season for us.”

Osakis dug itself out of an even bigger deficit in the opener when Montevideo carried a 4-1 lead into the sixth. An errant throw by Monte on an attempted double play scored two in the sixth before Montevideo added one more in its half of the inning to make it 5-3.

Again, Osakis rallied. Rost walked, Staloch singled, and then Muenzhuber, a freshman this past spring, put together a long at-bat and eventually drew a walk to extend the inning.

“He was down 0-2 in this at-bat against a senior pitcher and ended up fouling off pitches and having like a 10 or 11 pitch at-bat,” Infanger said of Muenzhuber. “He ends up drawing a walk with two outs, and it was just a huge at-bat and huge moment.”

Seela followed with a walk of his own to make it 5-4 before Imdieke singled in a run to tie it. Hunter Infanger then drew another walk to score what turned out to be the winning run after Rost shut down Montevideo in the bottom of the seventh for a complete-game win.

Osakis had two kids who were juniors this past high school season playing in this tournament, six sophomores and two freshman. For that young nucleus, earning a championship like this is good both now and in the future.

“(Osakis High School coach) Shad (Schmidt) and I talk about it being important and developmental for the high school season, but we also try to get these kids excited about legion baseball,” Infanger said. “It’s another season, another opportunity for growth.”

Osakis is 7-4 now after a four-win week that included a 3-1 victory over Glenwood-Lowry on June 25. This is a team that has goals of making a deep playoff run, and this past week has Osakis heading in the right direction.

“We started the season playing some tough competition and were playing at about a .500 pace,” coach Infanger said. “So to go here and play three really good teams and come away 3-0 in three close games where we came from behind, we couldn’t be more excited about where this young team is at right now.”

Eric Morken

Eric Morken is the sports and outdoor editor at the Echo Press and Osakis Review newspapers in Douglas County, MN. Follow him on Twitter at echo_sports.

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