Chargers learning as they go
The Brandon-Evansville baseball team is still learning a little bit about itself with so many players stepping into varsity roles this year, but the Chargers have liked what they have seen in many areas after a 3-1 start to the season.
Brandon-Evansville returned just three starters this spring in juniors Tom Bosek, Brandon Christianson and James Huisman. Bosek was the only one of those who returned with a lot of experience on the mound, which is why four straight quality starts have been a positive sign early on.
“We knew Tom was going to be solid,” head coach Brian Perleberg said. “He’s injured right now, which threw a little wrinkle into our plans for the week, but that’s baseball. You just adjust and keep going. Cody Lund has had a good start. Brandon Christianson had a good start and now tonight Robbie Juul has a good start. If we could get quality starts all year, we’ll piece together the rest of the puzzle from there.”
Bosek injured his right hand while taking batting practice in cold weather on Sunday. Perleberg wasn’t there, but said the vibration of the bat caused what doctors called bruised tendons in his hand. The good news is that X-rays showed it wasn’t broken, and the team hopes to have him back, possibly by next week.
Starting pitching is where everything starts for any baseball team. Juul was the latest pitcher to give the Chargers a chance in a game, and it came against the best team they have faced all season.
The sophomore right-hander started and went all seven innings against an Osakis team that made the Class A title game a year ago. Juul fought off the cold and held the Silverstreaks to just five hits in a 5-2 loss.
All five of the runs he allowed were unearned after the Chargers committed five errors in the game. Juul struck out four, walked two and hit two batters.
“For a sophomore getting his first varsity start, we’re pleased,” Perleberg said. “He went a little longer than we wanted him to, but we had a couple sore arms and in these conditions, we don’t like to change pitchers unless we absolutely have to. He wasn’t in a lot of trouble in those middle innings, so we just let him go.”
Now it is about working on some of the other parts of being a pitcher. Osakis had nine steals on Tuesday, with many of those going from second to third base. The responsibility to slow down runners on the bases falls on both the catcher and the pitcher.
“We’ve got to see four different guys pitch for us this year from a starting standpoint and that’s what we wanted,” Perleberg said. “Obviously, we’ve got a lot of work to do, but for the most part we’ve been really pleased that the guys who have thrown have come out and been giving us between four to six quality innings with every start.”
Perleberg said the area that he has been the most pleased with has been the team’s defense through this 3-1 start. The Chargers committed just one error in the first three wins of the season. They cooled down a little bit with five errors against Osakis, but they didn’t compound those errors with multiple mistakes in a row.
“That’s always a concern that we don’t throw the ball around a whole lot,” Perleberg said. “Today was probably the worst of the four games for mistakes. I haven’t looked at the book yet, but it wasn’t disastrous. So far we’ve been able to keep teams out of those great big innings. Then offensively, we’re still trying to find ourselves. Some days we’ve put the ball in play real well and today we just couldn’t find any gaps in there, but credit the Osakis defense for a lot of that.”
The Chargers fell victim to a no-hitter by Osakis’ Lane Berberich on Tuesday. The senior righty walked five but mixed in a curveball with his fastball to keep Brandon-Evansville off balance much of the night.
The Chargers still had a chance. They brought the tying run to the plate in the bottom of the seventh but a sacrifice fly by Kevin Campbell and a ground out ended the attempt at a rally. It was the first loss of the season, but a game against a good Silverstreaks team was going to help the Chargers win or lose.
“I don’t think they even understand how good it is for them to play a team like Osakis, who’s got a strong tradition the last few years of being a quality team and obviously state runner-up last year,” Perleberg said. “I hope at some point in time they understand that if there is a quality loss, I would put this right up there.”
OSAKIS 201 000 2 – 5 5 2
B-E 000 100 1 – 2 0 5
PITCHING – Osakis – Berberich – W, 7IP, 0H, 2R, 0ER, 5BB, 4SO; B-E – Juul – L, 7IP, 5H, 5R, 0ER, 2BB, 2 HBP, 4SO
OFFENSE – Osakis – Berberich – 1B, 2 BB, 2 runs, 2 SB; Michael Herringshaw – 1B, 1 run, SB; Fearing – 1B, RBI, 2 runs, 2 SB; Frederick – 2 RBI, SB; Brandon Giesler – 1B, RBI, SB; Cody DeWenter – 1B, SB; Scherr – SB
B-E – Patrick McGaffey – 1 run; Kevin Roers – 1 run; Campbell – Sac fly, RBI; Zach Johnson – Sac, RBI