By PATRICK SLACK
Eighth-ranked Osakis will enter the Sub-Section 5A West playoffs as the top seed.
But Upsala-Swanville Area (USA) senior Brock Cichon left more than a little doubt about who the section frontrunner should be, as the power right-hander calmed the visiting Silverstreaks’ bats in game two of a Prairie Conference showdown, May 16.
Osakis came out strong in game one, slugging two doubles and two home runs in an 8-2 victory that clinched the Prairie Conference title.
But after senior Nick Frieler finished the opener with four innings of scoreless relief, Cichon picked up where Frieler left off in game two, delivering a three-hit shutout in a 2-0 USA win, striking out five without issuing a walk.
The second game remained scoreless until the fifth inning, when junior Dylan Zimmerman reached with an infield single, advanced to second on a throwing error and moved to third on a sacrifice bunt.
Junior Christian Pekarek knocked in Zimmerman with a single before eventually scoring on a squeeze bunt by Frieler.
Frieler went 3-for-3 and seniors Andy Nelson and Alec Griffith added two apiece in the opener.
Griffith also picked up a double and reached base three times in the finale.
USA wallops West Central
Offense was in plentiful supply for USA at West Central Area, Tuesday, as the Patriots scored in every inning in a 24-3 blowout over the Knights, including 11 times in the third.
Leading the attack was the brotherly duo of senior Brock Cichon and freshman Justin Cichon, who were never retired as they combined to go 4-for-4 with six runs, eight RBIs and four walks.
Joining in the outburst with two hits apiece were senior Austin Jorgenson, Griffith and Nick Frieler, with Griffith doubling, tripling, scoring two runs and driving in three.
Seniors Colten Kruzel and Eric Frieler and junior Eric Lampert combined to add six RBIs and six runs and Pekarek scored three times.
Nick Frieler struck out six in four innings of work to earn the win on the mound.
Johnnies trip up USA by one
St. John’s Prep tripped up host USA 4-3, May 17, gaining a season split between the teams.
The Patriots scored twice in the first inning, as Pekarek and Nick Frieler led off the game with singles, then both came around to score on a base hit by Brock Cichon, before tacking on their final run on a double steal in the fourth.
Griffith added a hit and a run, while Eric Frieler held the Johnnies to three hits over five innings in his first start of the year on the mound.
St. John’s Prep takes down Royalton in extra innings
Royalton capped its Prairie Conference slate with a doubleheader at St. John’s Prep, May 16, dropping the opener 5-1 before falling 6-4 in eight innings in game two.
Sophomore Jordon Smieja and freshman Parker Brezinka collected Royalton’s two hits in game one, while senior Lucas Snyder, sophomore Brady Moulzolf and Smieja each had two hits in the finale.
Pillager clips Royalton by one in regular season finale
Royalton tuned up for postseason play with its regular-season finale at Pillager, May 17, falling 4-3 to the Huskies.
Smieja and eighth-grader Nathan Psyck each went 2-for-3 to lead the Royalton offense, with Psyck doubling twice.
Senior Brad Woidyla added a double, run scored and RBI.