Fans expect big things from Lindbergh’s Dane Bjorn after draw
Lindbergh pitcher Dan Bjorn throws without a hit. (Photo courtesy of Dan Hegger, InMotion STL)
By Sally Tippett Rains
All eyes will be on Lindbergh High School pitcher Dane Bjorn as he takes the mound this week. Bjorn threw a no-hitter on April 19 as the Flyers beat the Marquette Mustangs 6-0. Throwing that no-hitter is something Bjorn will always remember.
“It was great to finally get one,” Bjorn told STLSportsPage.com “Last year I got close but I never got to finish it. It feels good to see all the time that you spend on it (in baseball) translate into a physical result.
Lindbergh is about two-thirds through the season and sits at 11-11, facing a tough schedule. They are expected to be at the top end of their upcoming district tournament on May 16.
Lindbergh’s baseball coach, Darin Scott, wasn’t surprised by Bjorn’s success.
“Dane is a very gifted and talented left-handed pitcher who is as dedicated to pitching as any high school player I’ve ever seen,” he said. “It’s not surprising for him to throw a no-hitter because he commands 3 pitches and has the ability to vary speeds and locations really well.”
Bjorn, a junior, has been playing baseball since childhood. He participates in The Perfect Game.
As a sophomore last year, Bjorn led Lindbergh to the Class 6 quarterfinals of the Missouri State High School Baseball Tournament and was named to the All-Conference team.
He finished that season with a 1.83 ERA in 49 2/3 innings and led the team with 69 strikeouts.
Lindbergh’s last no-hitter was by Dennis Yingling in 2016 on the team’s path to the Final Four (against Francis Howell North) It’s quite rare to have a no-hitter in high school due to limits on the number of pitches and the weather factor early in the season.
Scott has great faith in all of his pitchers, but knows that when Bjorn is on the mound there’s a good chance good things will happen.
“Dane gives us a big chance to win every time he takes the ball because of his electric trick and his determination as a competitor,” he said. “His change is devastating ground because he can throw it in any count and they have to prepare for his spirited fastball in the upper 80s.”
Baseball has been part of Bjorn’s life since childhood.
“I started playing baseball when I was four,” he said. “Having an older brother who played baseball helped before that.”
The big turning point was when his parents signed him up for All-Star Performance when he was 10 and he joined the Gamers when he was 12. From there, he was lucky enough to work with former MLB pitcher Matt Whiteside, who along with his wife Bascha owns the baseball facility. Bjorn has been enrolled in their MACH 1 pitching program for four years. He is shown in the photo, left at All Star Performance (photo courtesy of Matt Whiteside)
“He played for me as a 16-and-under player last summer and he will play this summer,” Whiteside said. “Dane is a baseball player who works at his craft all year round. He’s a very dedicated young man, waking up at 5am two to three times a week in the off season to practice, back to home at 7:30 a.m., to school, then to All-Star for practice, and to bed around eight o’clock, to get enough sleep.
“I’m sure I wouldn’t be where I am today without Whitey (Matt Whiteside),” Bjorn said. “He leads by example, which I think is super important. He has high expectations, but it’s nothing he wouldn’t expect from himself, and having it last summer as a head coach made a huge difference by becoming a “pitcher” and not just a pitcher.
Whiteside is very high on Bjorn, saying he’s “a great boy and a really hard worker”. Hw says that ninety percent of players who spend their junior year with the Gamers (like Bjorn does) go on to play college baseball, and that’s been the case for 10 years.
All-Star Performance is a training facility in Crestwood that trains athletes of all ages and levels of play. They have instruction for the novice athlete, just getting into the game, or those trying to catch up with your peers, as well as comprehensive, top-notch training for more advanced players through their MACH 1 program.
Many of the area’s star athletes use All-Star because it has everything a budding baseball or softball player needs in the form of training, including Performance Training, and its in-house training partner, Elite Baseball Academy. . In addition to training at the facility, Bjorn is part of Whiteside team “The Gamers”.
“My first interaction with Dane was as a pitching instructor,” Whiteside said. “For four years, I would be with him during his team’s winter training. For the past three years or so, I’ve been lucky enough to coach him in games. He trained with the MACH 1 pitcher program, where he works with our lead pitcher, Andy Marks.
Bjorn’s family has been instrumental in his development. His parents played a key role in his pitching health.
“An interesting fact about Dane is that both of his parents are doctors and they are all very involved in his physical preparation,” Scott said. “They’re preparing him for the rigors of pitching with recovery, rehab and pitch preparation.”
Both parents are family doctors.
“Having that in my corner has been awesome,” Bjorn said. “Growing up I learned a lot about nutrition and how the body works and having them 24/7 instead of having to schedule a doctor‘s appointment was a huge benefit. “
He has two brothers Ian and Dylan.
“My older brother Ian played sports growing up,” he said. “My younger brother Dylan wasn’t the sporty type, but both of them worked hard at what they had a passion for, and growing up around that helped them tremendously. The fact that the older brothers are picking on you to toughen you up didn’t hurt either!
Bjorn is only a junior but he knows what he intends to do after high school: he is committed to Tennessee
“What I loved so much about Tennessee was Tony Vitello, the head coach. He leads by example and works incredibly hard day in and day out – and the fact that I had a great relationship with him made the difference. I also loved how Tennessee prioritized baseball and has a real culture there.
his Lindbergh High School coach, Darin Scott, is happy for him.
“We are thrilled and proud to have him committed to the current NCAA-Tennessee No. 1 team,” Scott said.
Preparing for the game after high school, Bjorn hired coaches Jeff Huse and Bart Emnett.
“They have made a big difference since I started training with them in September 2020. My body has had a complete transformation from being a 145lb to being 200. They have also been super good at showing the example and help me in my career.”
Both Scott and Whiteside expect Bjorn to continue his success in the future.
“His ability to set up and his dedication to his pitching routine is unmatched for the high school level,” Scott said. “He’s very poised and polished as a pitcher, especially for a junior.”