As the Osseo American Legion baseball team entered the final week of league play before sub-state playoffs, optimism was high for the Orioles. They were an unblemished 11-0 in North Hennepin League contests and had only one more opponent left in their way from an unbeaten regular season.
After having their July 14 game against Lino Lakes canceled due to rain, Osseo played host to Champlin Park at Osseo Memorial Field on July 15. Even though the Rebels held the Orioles fairly in check offensively, they were stymied by Osseo and starter Wyatt Doubler, leading to a 4-1 Orioles win.
Doubler threw a complete game, throwing only 80 pitches, and relied heavily on stellar defense to back him up. The Orioles turned four double plays on the night, epitomizing the phrase of being a pitcher’s best friend.
“We made a lot of big-time plays behind him,” head coach Ben Johnson said.
With Doubler throwing a gem on the mound, the offense took care of the rest. Spencer Pederson started the game with a bang, cranking a two-run home run in the first inning. Matthew Holien and Tyler Wolff each added an RBI at the plate. “We put together good at-bats throughout the game,” Johnson said.
With the regular season now in the rearview mirror, Johnson and the team enter their sub-state postseason tournament as the number one seed, fulfilling a goal they set out before the summer began. “They have a lot of confidence right now, rightfully,” Johnson said of his team. “We wanted to get the number one seed. Now that we’ve got that, we’d like to get to the state tournament.”
Osseo finished the regular season with a record of 16-6 overall and an undefeated 12-0 in league play. At the time of print, the Orioles played host to either Big Lake or Becker on July 21 in the first round of the sub-state playoffs.
After playing in multiple mid-season tournaments, the Orioles are familiar with this postseason format, playing potentially more than one game per day. And even through the losses, three of them to Edina during the season, they are ready to learn from their past mistakes. “We have the ability to now understand what losing is like and what led to some of the losses,” Johnson said. “Our mindset is to find a way to get to your next game.”