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Osakis baseball: Berberich tosses no-hitter to down Chargers

Osakis senior Lane Berberich follows through on a pitch during the first inning in Evansville on Tuesday night. (Eric Morken/Echo Press)

Osakis' Lane Berberich didn't let the cold affect him in Evansville on Tuesday night as the senior right-hander tossed his first career no-hitter to lead the Silverstreaks to a 5-2 win over Brandon-Evansville.

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Both of the Chargers' runs were unearned after Osakis errors to start the fourth and seventh innings came around to score. The closest Brandon-Evansville got to a hit came in the final frame. With a runner on first, the Chargers hit a shallow fly ball that fell to the ground in right-center field. The runner at first was forced to see if the ball would drop and was thrown out at second on the play for what is ruled as a fielder's choice. 

Berberich walked the next two guys he faced but got out of it from there by allowing a sacrice fly to right field off the bat of Kevin Campbell. He then induced a ground out to Drew Fearing at short for the final out.

"It felt good," Berberich said. "My arm felt better today than it did the last two times I've pitched. The fourth inning I think, I asked our manager Kolten [Adolphsen] if they had any hits and then I paid attention from there. I just came running in every time asking to go more, and obviously [head coach Shad Schmidt] wanted me to go more."

Berberich said he only threw a fastball and a curveball all day, but his ability to throw strikes in what both coaches felt was a small strikezone made a big difference. He did allow five walks, but only once did any of those come in the same inning. When he put guys on, he was able to get out of it by now allowing anything good to hit. Berberich struck out four and relied on a good defense to make the plays behind him.

"He did a great job of getting ahead of the hitters," Brandon-Evansville head coach Brian Perleberg said. "With two strike counts, he was getting the curveball across. The other thing about Osakis is they play great defense behind him. Any balls that we hit that we thought had a decent chance of dropping in there, the Streaks picked them up and made the plays. You combine that with a guy that was throwing strikes consistently and with good velocity so we couldn't get the timing down as well as we would have liked. Like I said, when he can mix in the off-speed stuff for strikes and keep us off balance, it's a good combination for the pitcher."

Schmidt liked the way Berberich attacked the strike zone. Berberich had a couple close pitches called balls in the seventh inning as he was trying to complete the no-hitter. He didn't let it faze him, and it paid off with a couple easy plays for his defense in the final two at-bats.

"I think throwing strikes," Schmidt said of what stood out about Berberich's performance. "Yeah, he gave up a few walks, but I thought the strike zone was actually really small, so I think that made it tougher on Lane. I like his pace of work. I like how he's not afraid to go after hitters, so I think that's probably the biggest thing for him. I kind of felt we had that type of staff where we had three, four, five guys, but it is nice to see Lane step up. Now he's a legitimate number two. I thought he would be anyway, but he kind of proved that today. I think we're going to have to play better against better competition too."

Schmidt would have liked to see his offense put together some better at-bats against the Chargers. The Silverstreaks stranded quite a few runners, and Osakis was never able to string much together against Brandon-Evansville sophomore Robbie Juul. The Silverstreaks took a 2-0 lead in the first inning with the help of a couple errors by the Chargers. They added one more in the third on an RBI single from Brandon Giesler and two more in the top of the seventh on another error that allowed a run to score and an RBI ground out by Jordan Frederick.

The Silverstreaks know they will need to be clicking on all cylinders against some of the better AA programs they will face in the playoffs, but they are off to a 3-0 start after Tuesday's win. It also came against a young Chargers team that had gotten off to a nice start too as Brandon-Evansville fell to 3-1 with the loss.

"They're always tough," Fearing said of the Chargers. "They're young but they hit the ball around, they play good defense. As far as our season, I expect us to do very well, so I'm proud of our guys and hopefully we can keep it rolling."

Eric Morken

Eric Morken is the sports and outdoor editor at the Echo Press and Osakis Review newspapers in Douglas County, MN. Follow him on Twitter at echo_sports.

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