Brandon-Evansville shows an ability to compete against a top 6A team during parts of getting swept at Ashby

Brandon-Evansville is 6-3 after a doubleheader sweep at the hands of fifth-ranked Ashby, and the Chargers showed some good things, along with parts of their game they hope to clean up throughout the night.

Brandon-Evansville's Brady Perleberg throws to first base to complete the double play as Ashby's Evan Paulson slides into second base to try to break it up in game one of a doubleheader on May 4, 2021. (Eric Morken / Echo Press)

The Brandon-Evansville baseball team was 6-1 entering a doubleheader at Ashby on Tuesday night, but the Arrows looked like they would pose the biggest threat of the season to this point for the Chargers.

That proved to be the case as fifth-ranked Ashby improved to 10-0 with 14-4 and 2-1 wins, but B-E head coach Brian Perleberg liked much of what he saw, especially in that one-run loss in game one.

“We’re still a young team, and this is a really strong opponent,” Perleberg said. “When you play a good opponent, they’re going to make you pay for some mistakes. Game one, I was very pleased with our performance. Dezmond White pitched a dandy game, and our defense was pretty solid. We weren’t errorless, but we played well enough to give us a chance to win.”

Brandon-Evansville sophomore Dezmond White pitches during game one of a doubleheader at Ashby on May 4, 2021. White allowed just one earned run over six innings during a 2-1 loss in game one. (Eric Morken / Echo Press)


White, a sophomore right-hander, matched Ashby junior Hunter Norby pitch for pitch throughout the opener. Norby had a run-scoring single at the plate in the first inning before White settled in to strike out nine in the six-inning complete game.

“Dezmond has pitched in quite a few big games throughout his life at lower levels,” Perleberg said. “For him to have the stage tonight, we were pretty comfortable that he was capable of it, but it’s easier said than done against this Ashby lineup. They just put pressure on you in a lot of ways, and Dezmond kept his composure all night long.”

Brandon-Evansville's Kyle Schaffran talks with assistant coach Trent Hintermeister after Schaffran's run-scoring single in game one of a doubleheader at Ashby on May 4, 2021. (Eric Morken / Echo Press)

Kyle Schaffran had an RBI single to tie the game for the Chargers in the top of the third, but two dropped fly balls to the left side of the infield led to an unearned run for Ashby in the fifth inning to make it a 2-1 game. The Chargers had chances to tie it, but they ran themselves into two outs on the base paths after getting a walk and two singles in the sixth inning.

“We try to be aggressive on the bases, and sometimes that’s a good thing,” Perleberg said. “Tonight we got bit by it a little bit, but you have to try to push the limits and put pressure on the defense. They did a good job of making those plays.”

Things got away from Brandon-Evansville in game two during a five-run third inning for the Arrows. Torin Olson led off the inning with a home run, and Mattson Hoff added a two-run home run to drive B-E starter Tyler Bitzan from the game. Bitzan lasted just 2 2/3 innings, but he also did not get a lot of help with the Chargers committing four errors in the third inning.

Brandon-Evansville's Tyler Bitzan pitches during the first inning of game two in a doubleheader at Ashby on May 4, 2021. (Eric Morken / Echo Press)


“All in all, they did a good job tonight. Ashby got on a run, and when they got going, we didn’t help ourselves out as much as we could have,” Perleberg said. “That’s baseball.”

The Chargers had been playing pretty clean in the field leading up to this doubleheader, so there is optimism that Tuesday’s game-two miscues are more of the exception than the rule. Brandon-Evansville was able to get a look at Brady Perleberg and Xavier Grussing on the mound. Both showed they can provide pitching depth behind the Chargers’ top two starting pitchers in White and Bitzan.

“The main thing is to try to figure out what our pitching staff looks like,” Perleberg said. “We’re getting a better idea of that. We’re pleased to win some games here early on. We know with so many doubleheaders that it’s going to be tough to play low-scoring games. We had it in the first game, but then we saw 18 runs in game two. We’re going to be OK.”

Brandon-Evansville's Xavier Grussing pitches late in game two during a doubleheader at Ashby on May 4, 2021. (Eric Morken / Echo Press)

Perleberg liked the way hits guys kept playing even after falling behind 14-1 going into the seventh inning of game two. Hunter Koep walked to start that inning. Riley Perleberg had a run-scoring single, while a ball off the bat of Brady Perleberg brought home two runs with the help of an Ashby error on the play.

With a 5-2 record against Section 6A opponents, the Chargers have shown an ability to compete so far this year. They will take that with them into another key matchup against undefeated New York Mills (9-0) in Evansville on Thursday night at 4:45.


Ashby's Hunter Norby steals second base as Brandon-Evansville's Brady Perleberg tries to gather the throw with shortstop Tyler Bitzan backing up the play. Norby reached base five times in the doubleheader to help the Arrows get the sweep and improve to 10-0. (Eric Morken / Echo Press)

“I liked the energy our guys had all night long,” Perleberg said. “There were times that if you didn’t look at the scoreboard and just looked at our dugout, you would have thought maybe we were winning. That’s an important thing in my mind, having a team that is relatively inexperienced. That’s something we can take with us going forward and hopefully build on.”

Ashby shortstop Torin Olson goes high to try to gather a throw before slapping down in an attempt to tag Brandon-Evansville's Kian Gackle at second base on May 4, 2021. (Eric Morken / Echo Press)

Eric Morken is a sports and outdoor editor at the Echo Press Newspaper in Alexandria, Minnesota, a property of the Forum News Service. Morken covers a variety of stories throughout the Douglas County area, as well as statewide outdoor issues.
What To Read Next
Get Local