Owatonna Preps for Playoffs with Streak-Snapping Victory
The Owatonna High School baseball team enters the section playoffs on a confidence-boosting victory over top-rated Mankato West. The Huskies ended the Scarlet's 26-game regular-season winning streak with a 4-1 decision on Thursday at Dartt's Park. It was the Huskies' Senior Night as well. Playoffs begin Monday, May 30 for OHS with a game at Lakeville South at 1 pm. Radio coverage will be on Kat Kountry 105 FM.
West's last regular-season defeat came midway through the 2021 season to Rochester Mayo. The Scarlets swept a twin-bill from Owatonna late last season and beat the Huskies in a rain-shortened game in late April this season. West lost to Marshall in the Section 2AAA playoffs in 2021.
OHS coach Tate Cummins said the performance came at a good time, "It was the best game that we played all season long, good timing as we roll into section play on Monday."
"We were able to move some runners in scoring position. We did get a couple key hits. I thought our small ball game was very good. We had a number of bunts and a bunt slash that went for hits...I thought we ran the bases very well."
There were a couple of close plays at home. One went in Owatonna's favor, the other did not. "Just a very well executed baseball game," Cummins added. The Huskies didn't commit an error.
The outfield played well, "Owen Beyer in centerfield tracked down one well-hit ball in left field-center. And he had a number of other put-outs as well. I thought our outfielders did extremely well. Our infield play was good. Wally [Ayden Walter] had a nice play at short. Mitch Seykora [at third base] had a nice play to his left, the five-six hole. And then Nick Williams had a pretty busy night for a second baseman."
OHS catcher Jack Helget threw out a base runner attempting a steal early in the game. Addison Andrix started on the mound. "He was able to make a lot of great pitches...Chris Homuth did come in with the bases loaded in the fourth in a really tough spot and he was able to get one of their better hitters out," Cummins said on Saturday morning's KRFO High School Coaches Show.
Cummins is looking forward to Monday's game at Lakeville after a 7-3 loss to the Cougars on May 20, "We are. We think it's a team we match up extremely well with. Offensively, they definitely can put some runs on the board. We like that match-up for our pitchers."
"We have to have good at-bats, try and get that pitch count up there, get down to first base, and let's move some guys around and see if we can score some early runs."
The Huskies gave up about a dozen free bases in the loss between walks, hit batters, and errors.
If you're going to Monday's game, bring your walking shoes as the ball diamond is a considerable distance from the parking lot on the Lakeville South campus. You may want to lug a chair along as well with very limited bleacher seating.
First-round games Monday, May 30 in Section 1-4A include defending state champion Farmington (17-3) hosting Rochester JM (5-15), Owatonna (10-10) at Lakeville South (10-10) and Rochester Century (10-10) versus Rochester Mayo (12-8). The tournament continues on Wednesday, June 1.
OHS seniors include Eli Knutson, Dylan Maas, Nick Williams, Grant Achterkirch, Taylor Bogen, Jack Helget, Cael Dowling, Caleb Vereide, and Addison Andrix.
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