by Bob San
SUN PRESS Newspapers
The Osseo CI adapted softball team is small in number with only seven returning and has four new players, but that does not diminish its expectations for the 2014 season.
“This team proved during the soccer and floor hockey seasons, it’s not about how many players a team has, it’s about how hard players work at practice and how much they improve during the season,” Oriole coach Kelli Waalk said. “To earn a conference championships and qualify for state is a testament to the amazing kids on the team. Despite having so many young players this softball season, coaches expect the successes from the fall soccer and winter floor hockey to continue into the softball season. The Orioles aim to finish near the top of the conference in softball and qualify for their 17th trip to the state tournament.”
Osseo is led by senior co-captain Tasha Feigh, a four-year starter and the team’s lead-off hitter for the past two seasons.
“Tasha has an incredible batting average, going 92-for-96 at the plate during that time,” Waalk said. “She continues to lead-off the order this year and was 8-for-8 in our first two games. Tasha also plays second base and has turned seven unassisted double-plays.”
Senior co-captain Austin Rohach returns for his third season behind the plate. Junior Alex Kreidler returns for his fourth season on the mound. He averages 6.8 strike-outs a game. Junior Megan Thompson returns for her fourth season at first base while junior Aaron Clark returns to the outfield for the Orioles.
The Orioles line-up is also chalk full of talented underclassmen. Freshman Cole Brambilla is back for his second season in left field. Freshman Jason Robins and eighth grader Paige Faber have both moved from the bench into the starting line-up this year. A new-comer to the team is freshman short-stop Marc Bazile.
“Even though Marc has never played softball before, he is quick and he covers a lot of ground,” Waalk said. “Marc hits the ball hard and has earned the clean-up spot in the batting order. He leads the team in home runs with five thus far.”
Sophomore Tulio Nicklas is another newcomer to the team.
“Though Tulio has also never played softball before he has had an immediate impact on the team,” Waalk said. “Tulio plays center-field and has an amazing ability to shag down fly balls that look like they are going to be home runs. Tulio also bats second in the order behind Feigh. He leads the team in doubles with six and his first home run was a grand-slam.”
Eighth grader Jeremiah Kennedy is also expected to see his share of playing time in the outfield as the season goes on.
The Orioles traveled to White Bear Lake for their first game of the season and won 19-3. Feigh, Nicklas and Bazile were all 4-for-4 at the plate. Bazile hit three home runs while Nicklas had three doubles. Clark, Rohach and Robins were all 3-for-4 at the plate. Feigh turned four unassisted double-plays and Bazile had nine RBI’s.
Osseo hosted perennial power Mounds View in their second game of the season and rolled 19-9 in five innings. The Orioles scored five runs in each of the first three innings. Feigh, Bazile and Nicklas were 4-for-4 again. Nicklas also hit a grand-slam in the second inning and drove in eight runs. Faber, Thompson, and Kreidler had three hits apiece. Kreidler also struck-out six batters.
The Orioles improved to 3-0 on the season April 17 as they defeated Buffalo 12-2 in another five-inning game. Tulio lead the team with four hits. Bazile, Clark, and Rohach were all 3-for-3 at the plate. Feigh tallied two more unassisted double-plays at second.
The great start raises hopes for a very successful season.
“With as many inexperienced players as we have, you never know what will happen, but if we continue to hit the ball like we have been and limit our fielding errors we should do well,” Waalk said. “Our goal is to improve every game and get back to state in June. The team is definitely headed in the right direction.”
The Orioles next host Robbinsdale/Hopkins/Mound Westonka on May 1.
Contact Bob San at email@example.com