Owatonna Drops Baseball, Softball Openers
For the first time in over 675 days the Owatonna High School baseball and softball teams played on Thursday, April 8. Their previous games would have been section tournament contests in late May of 2019. The 2021 season openers ended with a Northfield sweep. In baseball, the Raiders won 10-3 at Fuller Field at Dartt's Park. On the softball diamond in Northfield, the Raiders won 10-0.
Raiders lefty Gunnar Benson shut down the Huskies' bats at Fuller Field, striking out ten in just over four innings. Owatonna trailed 4-0 at that time, but broke through for two in the fifth inning.
With two outs and two on, Matt Seykora fought through a seven-pitch at-bat against Benson, ultimately smashing a ball up the first base line. It kicked away from the first baseman on his backhand side, allowing two runs to score.
The Raiders answered back with one in the sixth and five in the seventh. OHS scored in the bottom of the seventh for the 10-3 final. Owatonna used five pitchers, with Brayden Truelson, Gavin Rein, Caleb Veriede, Eli Knutson, and Grant Achterkirch all taking to the hill.
The Huskies had several highlight plays on defense including a great grab by each outfielder Payton Beyer, Dylan Maas, and Achterkirch. First baseman Mason Kunkel had a diving catch of a line drive and the team turned a rare 1-5-4 double play. With a runner at third and a grounder fielded by the pitcher, the Huskies threw back to third for an out. Meanwhile the batter was trying to advance to second and was thrown out there.
Owatonna plays at Rochester John Marshall at John Adams Middle School Saturday afternoon and faces Century at Mayo Field on Monday, April 12 at 5 pm. The Monday game will be broadcast on Kat Kountry 105 FM.
Huskies softball managed just one hit against one of the best pitchers in the state and struck out 14 times overall. Coach Jeremy Moran said, "It was good to be out on the field again. Though draw for or first game as Northfield is one of the favorites to win the conference and section. Could not get anything going offensively but it was good to see some players make adjustments in their second and bat against a very tough pitcher (perhaps best pitcher in the entire state)." The Raiders are the reigning Class AAA champions going back to 2019.
OHS hosts John Marshall Saturday at 1 pm.
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