Jimmies' Berg growing into bigger role in freshman year
Berg's .250 batting average is good for 11th on the team.
JAMESTOWN — After a successful baseball career at Dickinson High School, Troy Berg came to the University of Jamestown and struggled to find at-bats to start his freshmen year but has since turned it around and become a mainstay in the Jimmies lineup.
“I just (have) been working hard, grinding really for my spot in the lineup,” Berg said. “I’ve been watching videos, lots of video, critiquing myself, critiquing my own swing, working with coaches. Basically, learning and improving on things I need to improve on and trying to become more consistent with things I’m good at.”
Through the Jimmies' first 13 games of the season, the 2021-22 Gatorade Player of the Year was used primarily as a pinch runner as he only had three at-bats in that time.
“It’s frustrating as a competitor you want to be on the field at all times,” Berg said. “But at the time all I could do really is keep my head down, keep working hard, basically cheer on my teammates and hope for their success because their success is my success if we win games and all that. So, it was frustrating but definitely a learning experience.”
Berg’s first multi-plate appearance game came in the team’s 14th game of the season when he worked two walks. In the next game, he went 2-for-4 before having to fight for his lineup spot again over the next few weeks. Since, April 7, Berg has had at least one plate appearance in all 16 of the Jimmies games
“Early on in the season he filled a role as a solid backup, he was a guy that we relied on to come in the game in short and third,” Jimmies head coach Tom Hager said. “But he’s developed into our starting third basemen and we’re darn proud of it. He finds a way to put the ball in play, he’s done so in key times to help us win ballgames and he’s been a solid defensive third baseman.”
Hager said he wanted to bring Berg to the team because of his athleticism and his unending work ethic. This season, Berg is hitting .250 with two home runs and 12 RBIs and 10 walks in 35 games. Berg has only struck out 10 times this season and only five times since the Jimmies have started conference play.
“He has a great approach,” Hager said. “I think he understands what he wants to do and how he wants to do it. He also has a very simple, repeatable swing. When you can have a simple, repeatable swing, it allows you to be more consistent and he’s able to put the ball in play and make things happen.”
Berg said his ability to stay disciplined and cut down on the strikeouts is thanks to him staying more comfortable in the batter's box. Before the season started, Berg said one of his goals was to earn a spot in the lineup. As he looks ahead to the postseason, Berg said he is not satisfied with making the lineup but he wants to work to stay in the lineup. His ultimate goal for the postseason though is pretty simple.
“To win,” Berg said. “I mean this season we’ve had a lot of ups and downs, going into the postseason, that’s what we have to do. We have to win if we think we’re going to keep playing this year.”
Berg and his teammates open the GPAC tournament at noon on Thursday, May 4, when they take on Mount Marty.
“I think he needs to just continue to have quality at-bats, be a tough out and be somebody we can rely on at third base,” Hager said. “If get that from him, we’re going to have a great shot.”
As he looks ahead to the summer, Berg said he will be playing for the Dickinson American Legion baseball team.
“I think it’ll help quite a bit,” Berg said. “I think a big part of it is being able to take some of the knowledge I’ve gained here and passing it (to) some of my teammates back there, help the team become better overalls s a whole, taking those good ABs that I’ve been getting and transferring everything over, transferring what I’ve learned over to legion.”