Osceola continued to climb the Middle Border conference ladder with a pair of wins last week. The Chieftains defeated the Amery Warriors 10-3 and followed that with a 6-3 decision over the Ellsworth Panthers. The wins move Osceola into a second place tie with St. Croix Central in the MBC standings with 6-4 records. New Richmond has secured at least a tie for conference title with a 10-0 mark.
Osceola never trailed Amery as they opened the scoring with a run in the first and a pair in the second to take a 3-0 lead. After the Warriors closed the gap to 3-2 the Chieftains tacked on a run in the fourth, five in the fifth and capped their scoring with a solo tally in the seventh.
“Matt Schultz was dominant on the mound for us,” Osceola coach Kyle Collins said. “He gives our team a lot of confidence when he pitches. I thought our guys did a nice job playing as a team. We continued to put pressure on Amery by scoring in five out of the seven innings. It felt like every inning we threatened. That puts a lot of strain on a defense and a pitcher.”
Schultz, Logan Clark and Nick Carlson led the 14 hit Osceola offense with three hits each. Logan Maxon had a pair of Chieftain safeties. Schultz was the winning pitcher going 6 2/3 innings.
Osceola showed their pitching depth at Ellsworth as Maxon went the first five innings, giving up just two hits and two runs to pick up the win. Carlson pitched the final two innings to get the save. Clark, Matt Schultz and Josh Schultz each collected a pair of hits to lead the Chieftains.
“I was so happy to see Logan Maxon pitch as well as he did,” Collins said. “He deserved to have something go well for him. I’ve kind of come to the realization that we are not a fast starting team but eventually we find our groove within a ballgame. I thought offensively through the first few innings we played like individuals on a team and not until we played as a team did we find success. Josh Schultz is really locked in at the plate right now. It’s fun to watch guys with that kind of confidence. You’re assuming every pitch they are going to hit the ball hard.”
Josh Schultz did hit the ball hard in a non-conference 4-3 loss to the Spooner Rails. It seemed like Osceola could never quite get over the hump in this one. Spooner led 2-0 with the Chieftains coming back to tie it two each. The Rails added solo runs in the fifth and sixth to take a 4-2 lead. Osceola rallied for a run in the last inning on a booming Schultz homerun to cut the deficit to 4-3. The Chieftains got the tying run on base but left him stranded.
“I have been seeing the ball coming out of the pitcher’s hand very well and I’ve been able to put good swings on the ball,” Josh Schultz explained about his recent hitting surge. “The homerun against Spooner was an awesome feeling. The feeling when the ball hit the bat and as I saw it fly over the fence was simply amazing. I hope my teammates and I can repeat that feeling in our final games of the year and into playoffs.”
Osceola collected just four hits off Spooner hurler Dillan Brimblecom. Besides the Schultz homerun, Aaron Schmidt had a pair of bunt singles and Josh Mork added a seventh inning single.
“We had a really hard time adjusting to Spooner’s starting pitcher,” Collins said. “He varied speeds well and kept our hitters out in front all game. We just couldn’t get anything going on offense. I give Spooner credit, they seemed to hit every mistake we threw and came through with multiple 2-out RBIs.”