Long ball. Small ball. The Huskies are scoring every which way. Owatonna baseball is off to a 5-0 start on the season with an offense they hope can carry them a long way this spring. All the time in the batting cage during the extended winter seems to be paying dividends. Tucker Alstead and Brady Schuster have two home runs apiece. The Huskies did not hit a single homer last season.

Through five games, OHS is averaging more than 12 runs per game and have scored double-digit runs three times. They never reached that mark last season. Pitching and defense have also been quite good. In four of the five games Owatonna has held their opponent to four runs or fewer.

The Huskies have swept doubleheaders from Mankato East (11-3 and 8-3) and Rochester Mayo (7-2 and 16-15) and beat John Marshall Saturday 18-4 to open the season 5-0 overall and 3-0 in the Big Nine. OHS hosts Rochester Century Tuesday, May 1 at Fuller Field at 5 pm in a single game.

Schuster, who plans to play baseball at Bethany Lutheran in Mankato, has homered in back-to-back games. He hit a three-run shot at Mayo and smashed a grand slam Saturday over the Rockets. Alstead, who has committed to St. Cloud State, went deep in the season opener versus East and knocked it out of the park Saturday as well.

Owatonna is getting contributions from throughout the lineup. In the doubleheader sweep at Mayo Thursday, the number nine spot in the batting order went 7-for-8 with seven RBI. Parker Westphal was 4-for-4 in the first game with three runs driven in. OHS coach Tate Cummins confided on the KRFO coaches show Saturday morning that he almost didn't start Westpahl, a left-handed hitter, against Mayo's left-handed starter.

Sophomore Ethan Walter batted ninth in the nightcap versus the Spartans, hitting a triple, double and single while plating four and scoring three times himself. Cummins is excited about the speed Walter brings to the base paths. In general, Cummins likes to send runners and be aggressive. He says with a runner on second and a ball hit to the outfield, the defense has to have two perfect throws and catches to get the runner at home.

OHS also scored on an unusual double steal at Mayo. With two outs and runners on the corners, Westphal took off for second and eluded the tag at the base long enough for Jake Miller to race home from third.

On the mound, five different starters have toed the rubber. Brady Schuster, Noah Budach, Abe Havelka, Sol Havelka and Nolan Malo each have a start. After Tuesday's home game with Century, OHS will play at Austin Thursday and go to St. Cloud for games on Friday and Saturday May 4-5.

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