Osceola Legion Baseball, what a way to extend a high school player’s season. This year the team fielded 16 young and talented athletes from the Osceola High School, consisting of four seniors, four juniors, and eight sophomores. Sixteen is a good number to have, considering all these players are multi sport athletes. Trying to work around basketball league, football camps, wrestling camps, weight lifting, let alone their jobs, makes it a challenge at times, but these boys are 100 per cent committed, including the parents who are just as committed about getting their son to and from games. They are also a great cheering section and support staff. Our main focus is to get better every game and get the younger players playing at the varsity level, with leadership by our upper classmen.
Our season began the second week in June extending through July. Regular season games included matches with St. Croix Falls, St. Croix Central, Prescott, Baldwin, New Richmond, Spring Valley, Menominee, and Bloomer. Our 8 win 6 loss record led the team into the Regionals played in Baldwin. Five teams competed in a double elimination tournament with Osceola’s first match with an always strong Altoona team. Osceola came out on top 9-5 after a hefty pitching performance by Nick Carlson and Tyler Ulrich, followed by timely hitting and good defense. Putting Logan Maxon on the mound for our second game against St. Croix Central proved a strong start, but he was relieved early for future games. Tyler Ulrich, a sophomore, came in relief, and finished strong holding Central to no runs, with Osceola winning 10-0 in 5 innings.
Game 3 put us up against Baldwin. Coach decided to go with one of the young arms of the pitching staff. Lucas Sedivy, a crafty left-handed sophomore, held Baldwin to just 3 runs. Carter Lalim relieved Sedivy and busted out throwing strikes, holding Baldwin to just three runs. Osceola’s bats finally woke up in the middle of the game finishing with a 16-6 victory in 5 innings. With that win, Osceola advanced to the championship game, again facing Altoona. With lots of good arms left, Osceola was in perfect shape, but that isn’t the way it turned out. Logan Maxon had a tough start, only going 2 innings, followed by Peter Bjerke walking the only two hitters he faced. Jacob Sedivy came in from behind the plate and kept Osceola in the game but our usually solid defense would prove shaky this game with Osceola losing 20-14.
This loss resulted in a rematch with Altoona for a trip to State. The winner would advance to the state tournament in Westby. Coach juggled the line a little and gave some younger guys a taste of the playoffs. Starting on the mound, sophomore Chris Fugate threw to his classmate Daric Swanson. With a young duo like that anything can happen. Fugate gave four very strong innings leaving the game with a 6-5 lead. Charlie Tronrud came in as relief. Since he was injured most of the year, he didn’t get much time on the mound. Coach was a little worried but Charlie said he felt good. Very impressive outing, he came in and struck out the side. Osceola came to bat in the 5th and put up six runs by timely hitting from the whole lineup. Carter Lalim was called on to close out the last two innings, and he did so by giving up only 1 run, thus giving Osceola the Regional Class A Senior Championship trophy by a score of 12-7.
With that victory moved Osceola to the State Tournament in Westby, Wisconsin. Friday, July 26 the boys left Osceola at 6:30 a.m. for Westby for their first game at 1:30. Osceola sent left-hander Nick Carlson, an incoming junior but veteran on the mound, to face St. Mary’s Catholic. Osceola would be seeing a big, hard throwing right-hander Davis Wilson, a 2018 graduate. With the good start of Nick and the relief of Tyler Ulrich on the mound, Osceola gave up 3 runs on 7 hits, 3 base on balls, and 5 strikeouts. Osceola struggled with the bat, only producing 1 run on 3 hits, 3 base on balls, and 9 strikeouts. It was a great defensive game and well pitched by both teams. Osceola came up short with a 3-1 loss in the opening game, putting them in the elimination bracket against Medford. Osceola juggled the line-up, giving everyone a chance to start in a state tournament and put young guns on the mound and behind the plate.
Lefty Sedivy on the mound with Swanson behind the plate faced a tough opponent on the mound in John McMurry, a 2020 graduate from Medford. Osceola’s strong start gave up no runs or hits in the first inning, but the second inning changed the ball game when we gave up base on balls and errors with a combination of hits. This is always a pitcher’s nightmare, thus giving up 6 runs in the 2nd inning. Logan Maxon to the mound early in the 2nd inning gave up 4 hits and no runs the rest of the game, but Osceola was held to no runs till the 7th inning finally contributing 2 of their own runs. Medford ended with 5 hits, 6 base on balls, and 2 strikeouts, ending Osceola’s season. Osceola finished with 5 hits, 4 base on balls, and 6 strikeouts with a final Medford 6, Osceola 2.
Yes, this ended the season for Osceola, but what a great experience for such a young team. Attending and participating in a state tournament is a feeling like no other, giving you goose bump, butterflies, and a proud feeling. Not every high school athlete will make it to a state tournament, but these young men earned the chance to participate in one and should be very proud of themselves. Forty-seven teams throughout Wisconsin had their eye on the state tournament, but only 8 would advance, and Osceola was part of that. And with the taste of a state tournament in their belly, I think and hope that they can make a run at a state title in 2020. The team thanks the American Legion Osceola Post 221 for sponsoring us, with hopes of many more years to come.