Matt Rutledge

Matt Rutledge throws an Ashland batter out at first base during the Chieftains’ 7-4 win in the Regional opener. Osceola now plays the top seed, the Northwestern Tigers.


The Osceola Chieftain baseball team did not end their regular season the way that they had hoped with a double header loss to St. Croix Central. Osceola quickly put the losses behind them and turned their attention to the WIAA tournament. The Chieftains responded in a big way with a 7-4 win over the Ashland Oredockers. Next in line for Osceola is a game with the top seeded Northwestern Tigers.

“I've been waiting for this team to play like this all year,” Osceola coach Kyle Collins said about the win over Ashland. “It's been there, they just needed to accept their roles and realize what they are capable of.”

Osceola took control of the game early with a run in the first inning, three in the third and three more in the fourth to take a 7-0 lead. Ashland came off of the mat to put up four big runs in the sixth to get back into the ballgame.

“Matt Schultz was in total command until the sixth,” Collins said. “I think the multiple long innings we had on offense got to him.”

After Schultz tired Collins called on Nick Carlson to put out the fire and he responded admirably. Carlson pitched the last inning and two thirds and didn’t allow a hit and struck out two of the five batters he faced.

“It's nice to have a guy like Nick Carlson to hand the ball to when you need five more outs,” Collins said.

Carlson also had a big night at the plate going 2-for-3, scoring a run and driving in a pair. Logan Clark was 1-for-3 with an RBI and a run scored and Aaron Schmidt scored twice.

“Our hitters were very patient and when they got their pitch most of them didn't miss it,” Collins said. “Where we won the game however was on the base paths. Guys put constant pressure on the defense all game.”

Osceola had a lot to play for in their season ending double header with the St. Croix Central Panthers. Osceola and St. Croix Central had a game postponed earlier in the season at Hammond so on the last day of the Middle Border conference season the teams were playing twice in Osceola with each team designated as the home team one time.

Going into the last day of MBC play Osceola was sitting at 6-6 in conference play and the Panthers were 7-5. The Chieftains had a chance to move all the way up to second place behind only New Richmond if they could sweep SCC. It turned out the Panthers had too much quality pitching this day and they came out on top in both contests. 

The first game of the double header Osceola could muster just one hit off Central pitchers Mason Dado and Derek Meyer in a 2-0 loss. Aaron Schmidt singled in the fourth inning and the Chieftains loaded the bases with one out but could not get the big hit when needed. Osceola also had good pitching as Matt Rutledge, Matt Schultz and Nick Carlson combined to hold the Panthers to just two runs on six hits. 

“We had a difficult time getting to Mason Dado from SCC,” Collins said. “He throws hard enough to be effectively wild. It's hard to be ready to hit when one pitch is over your head and the next is at your knees. We didn't do a very good job of making the defense work. We needed to adjust throughout the game to give ourselves a chance. I was happy with the way our three pitchers pitched; they threw strikes and attacked hitters.”

Osceola managed a run in the second game but collected just one hit, a second inning single by Logan Maxon. Maxon came around to score on a Panther error. This time it was Meyer and Trevor Miller who kept the Chieftain hitters at bay as they combined to give up one unearned run, walked five and struck out seven.

Osceola opened the scoring with a run in the second inning but the Panthers struck for three in their half of the inning. SCC added an insurance tally in the third for a 4-1 win.

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