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Second base brothers

Osakis senior Lane Berberich (left) and his younger brother, freshman Brady Berberich, pose for a photo after both won the Hard Hat Award that head coach Shad Schmidt handed out after every win this season. (Contributed)

In a family of middle infielders, freshman Brady Berberich is the latest of three brothers who have played second base on the Osakis baseball team over the years.

Brady was been a factor on another strong Silverstreaks baseball team this season, often starting at second base when older brother Lane Berberich pitched and also in right field.

Lane started at second base for Osakis since he was a freshman back in 2011. Their older brother, Todd Berberich, had manned the position before Lane until his graduation in 2010. With the three brothers all interested in playing the same position, it is not difficult to imagine the hours they have spent honing their skills together.

“I guess we’ve always played the same position. So did my older brother when he played here,” Lane said. “We did a lot in the summer in our front yard just playing baseball, hitting each other ground balls, pitching to each other.”

The Berberich brothers gained their interest in baseball growing up as their dad, Kyle Berberich, taught them the game as a former high school shortstop. Brady said having an older brother as a captain this season aided his transformation from JV to the varsity team.

“He’s helping me a lot,” Brady said about Lane. “Ever since I was young he has always been teaching me how to play, hitting me grounders and telling me what to do. He’s probably one of my role models.”

In his senior season, Lane was a team leader both with the bat and on the mound. He finished the season with a .493 batting average and scored a team-high 39 runs. Lane also set a school record for stolen bases, having swiped 32 bags in the season.

Lane also led the team with wins on the mound as he finished 9 and 1 with a 2.15 ERA.

Brady wrapped up his season batting .189 with seven hits in 37 at bats. He had no problem reaching base as he drew 15 walks for an on base percentage of .434.

Osakis head coach Shad Schmidt noticed Lane offering his advice to his younger brother throughout the season. These lessons helped teach Brady more about the level of effort needed on a high school varsity team.

“I think most importantly he has shown Brady what it takes to be successful and has shown him the proper work ethic,” Schmidt said. “Lane at times can be hard on Brady, but it’s only because he wants him to be successful and it is not malicious.”

The season was not been perfect for Brady as an injury caused him to miss some playing time. He suffered a broken nose during a home game on May 16 against Royalton after a line drive bounced up and hit him in the face on a diving attempt. The nose injury required surgery, and he finally returned for the team’s first playoff game on Tuesday against Wadena-Deer Creek.

That was a detour in a season of otherwise invaluable experience for Brady and the other freshmen on the varsity this season.

“Every year we have some younger kids on our roster getting valuable playing experience, and that’s very true for Brady,” Schmidt said. “Brady has been around baseball growing up with his two older brothers playing, so he has no problem playing against older kids. He is used to it.”

As a freshman on varsity once himself, Lane recalled one important piece of advice for his brother as the season started – to know his role on the team.

“Just don’t be afraid and try your best,” Lane said. “You can’t expect to be the best when you’re only a freshman playing varsity, but just try your hardest.”

Blaze Fugina

Blaze Fugina is the sports editor of the Woodbury and South Washington County Bulletin newspapers. Previously, Blaze worked as a sports editor for the Pierce County Herald and a sports reporter for the Alexandria Echo Press. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls in May of 2011. You can follow Blaze on Twitter at @BlazeFugina.

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