Just try, just try to score runs off VanSomeren

Amateur baseball teams have had a tough time scoring runs off former Milaca High School/Bemidji State University pitcher Ryan VanSomeren this season.

A real tough time. It’s been nearly impossible to nick the right-hander for an earned run.

Webster’s Sports Dictionary defines earned-run-average (ERA) as the    average number of earned runs per nine-inning game scored against a pitcher. It is determined by dividing the total number of earned runs charged against the pitcher by the total number of innings pitched and multiplying by nine.

Basically, an earned run is a run scored without the aid of an error or a passed ball.

A Major League pitcher would be elated to have an ERA of 2.0 to 2.80.

VanSomeren plays for the Mora Blue Devils in the Eastern Minny League. He has a 6-0 record for the 23-4 Blue Devils.

And, over 49 and one-third innings he’s allowed one earned run. That translates to an ERA of .18.

That’s right, .18.

Last Saturday he pitched Mora to a 2-1 victory over the Princeton Panthers in the Region 1C Tournament at Hinckley, moving the Blue Devils one step closer to the Class C State Amateur Tournament. He allowed five hits and an unearned run and struck out 10 as he pitched the full nine innings.

“It’s been a great season for the Blue Devils,” said VanSomeren, who’s in his third season with Mora. “And, I’ve had a very good season and been able to contribute.

“The season has been a lot of fun. Our goal was to get to the state tournament and that’s been our focus. We still have some work to do.”

VanSomeren, a 2008 Milaca graduate, has allowed just 28 hits and 15 walks this season. He’s notched 50 strikeouts, about one per inning.

“I’ve concentrated on throwing strikes and keeping bases on balls to a minimum,” said VanSomeren. “My best pitches have been a fastball and a slider and I’ve been able to hit the corners with both.

“And, my teammates have given me great support.”


At Bemidji State

VanSomeren posted a 4-1 record at Bemidji State this past season, his final year. He pitched in 13 games and had a 3.68 ERA over 36 and two-thirds innings, walking 13 while striking out 30.

“I enjoyed it at Bemidji,” said VanSomeren, who has earned a degree in secondary education with an emphasis on social studies and special education. “The coaches taught me how to be a pitcher.

“I learned how to understand the game and how to handle success as well as times when I didn’t do well.”

VanSomeren is the son of Andy and Carol VanSomeren of Pease. His brother Matt, who will be a senior at Milaca, pitched on the Milaca High School and Milaca Legion teams this year.

Ryan is going back to BSU this fall and has been asked to work with the coaching staff.

“This year’s team had a good season which ended with a second-place finish at the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference Tournament behind Minnesota-Mankato,” said VanSomeren. “The highlight was beating St. Cloud State twice in the tournament.

“I’m looking forward to working with the pitchers.”


Blue Devils rolling

Mora followed the win over Princeton by topping Clear Lake 5-1 behind veteran pitcher Asa Patterson.

The Blue Devils, who won the Eastern Minny East Division with a 15-2 record, continue Region 1C play Saturday night when they face the Sartell Muskies at Hinckley at 7. The Muskies, who topped Mora twice during the regular season,  are also unbeaten in the tournament.

A victory over Sartell Saturday in the double-elimination tourney would put the Blue Devils in the Class C state meet Aug. 16-Sept. 2 at Maple Lake and Delano.

Clear Lake and Hinckley, both with a loss in the region meet, face each other Saturday at Hinckley.