Osakis softball shows grit in staying alive in 5A playoffs

The Osakis softball team could have folded down 7-3 after two innings in an elimination game against a team it had lost to a day earlier. Instead, the Silverstreaks rallied for a 15-14 win that set up another must-win situation today in St. Cloud.

Osakis senior Lauren Silbernick threw to first for an out against Kimball in the opening round of the 5A-West tournament last Thursday. Silbernick has gotten every pitching start for her team in the playoffs, winning three of those. (Echo Press photo by Eric Morken)

The Silverstreaks lost to Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City last Thursday after beating Kimball in the Section 5A-West opener. That sent Osakis to the loser’s bracket, where it once again met ACGC after the Silverstreaks had taken care of Browerville in a 2-0 game on Friday.

“We showed signs early that the team [ACGC] saw the day before was not the same one they were going to see [Friday],” Osakis head coach John Stigman said. “If we were going to compete with them, we would have to swing the bat like them, which we did.”

Rachelle Rajdl set that tone early with a hard-hit liner off the pitcher’s shoulder in Osakis’ first at-bat of the game.

“You never want to see anyone get hurt,” Stigman said. “But that was a sign that we came to play.”

The Silverstreaks kept chipping away at the Falcons’ early lead by scoring five runs through the first three innings. Then in the fourth, Osakis exploded for eight runs to take a 13-7 lead.

“That was a huge momentum shift and you could sense that they knew they were in a battle,” Stigman said. “They answered back with five in the sixth, but we were able to hold them off long enough to continue our season. This was a gutsy performance all around, especially from our seniors Dani [Chisholm], Lauren [Silbernick], Rachelle, Kaitlin [Deel] and Nicole [LeBrun], who led us today.”

The Falcons rallied for seven runs over the final two frames, but two Osakis runs in the sixth proved to be the difference for the Silverstreaks. Chisholm had a big game with four hits, including two doubles, to go along with four RBI. Rajdl went 3-for-5 with a double and an RBI and Morgan Silbernick had a double, a single and drove in  four runs.

The win set up another must-win situation tonight against the 5A-East’s number one seed, Rush City. The Tigers are 14-4 and have beaten Braham twice and Cromwell once to keep their season alive after falling to Isle 20-6 last Friday.

Osakis enters today with an 18-3 overall record. First pitch between the Silverstreaks and Tigers is scheduled for 5 p.m. at Whitney Park in St. Cloud. Regardless of what happens tonight, Stigman is already proud of the way his team has fought through these playoffs.

“We are extremely proud of this team for all they have accomplished this season,” he said. “Most people would have never given us credit at the beginning of the year for what we have accomplished. Most didn’t think this team would be much of a threat with all the new faces and new roles. But from day one, they established themselves as a strong unit and have worked hard to improve each other and support each other. What they have accomplished is amazing, and they continue to amaze.”