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Bergman's best fuels Dust Devils

St. Francis High grad is currently a league leader in innings pitched, wins and WHIP this season.

September 02, 2011|By Andrew Shortall, andrew.shortall@latimes.com

The following are updates on local baseball players at the minor league level.

Christian Bergman (St. Francis High, 2006) starting pitcher, Tri-City Dust Devils: Bergman's slow start to the year is a thing of the past. The former All-Area Baseball Player of the Year has dominated opposing batters heading into the playoffs.

The Golden Knights product pitched seven innings of two-hit, one-run ball against the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes on Tuesday in his last regular season start for the Dust Devils. He issued just one walk in the game.

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It was just what the Dust Devils, the Class-A affiliate of the Colorado Rockies, ordered, as they pulled out the 2-1 win. Bergman didn't pick up the victory, though, as the Devils pulled off a walk-off win. If Bergman had picked up the win, he would have finished as the Northwest League leader in wins. He finished the season with seven victories.

"Bergman pitched well," Dust Devils Manager Fred Ocasio told the Tri-City Herald after the game. "He is having a hell of a year this year. He just goes after hitters and keeps them off-balance."

Bergman's most impressive August outing came on the 19th, when he threw a shutout against the Yakima Bears. He led his team to a 2-0 win and became the first Dust Devil to toss two shutouts in a season, while the team notched its 10th overall to tie a Northwest League record.

"[Tying the record] means a lot. The best thing is doing it as a team," Bergman told the Tri-City Herald after the game. "Everybody chipped in. It just goes to show how good our staff is."

It only took him 91 pitches, 70 of which were strikes, to complete the game, as he threw first-pitch strikes to 28 of 31 Yakima hitters. He only gave up three hits and didn't surrender a walk, retiring the final eight batters he faced.

The right-hander's outstanding year led to him being named to the Northwest League's postseason all-star team as a starting pitcher.

"That's well deserved," Bergman's catcher, Ryan Casteel told the Tri-City Herald. "He's one of the best pitchers I've ever seen. He's been one of the best in the league this year."

Coming into Thursday night action and with just a few games left in the season, Bergman leads the Northwest League in innings pitched (97 1/3) and is tied for the lead in WHIP (0.97). He also ranks second in earned-run average (2.59), fourth in strikeouts (68) and fell an inning short of tying the league's all-time consecutive scoreless inning mark of 32 on Aug. 14.

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