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Bryce Berg goes from high school freshman coach to professional hitting coach for Cedar Rapids Kernels in 6 years
Carroll native in his first season in the minor leagues; Kernels fall to Quad Cities
CEDAR RAPIDS — Bryce Berg was head freshman baseball coach and assistant varsity coach for Carroll Kuemper High School a mere six years ago. That’s his alma mater.
Now he’s a hitting coach professionally in the Minnesota Twins organization. Specifically for the high-Class A Cedar Rapids Kernels.
You talk about an upward career trajectory.
“I knew from a really young age that I wanted to coach,” said Berg, whose team lost Saturday night to Quad Cities, 4-1, at Veterans Memorial Stadium. “Growing up in Carroll and being able to come back and coach for that program at that time was super cool. I also was just out of college, so I had not necessarily warranted anything above a freshman coaching role. There was just a ton of cool stuff about it.”
He got to coach one of his younger brothers at Kuemper, which was special. He’s got three of them: Casey, Ben and Kyle, all of whom have played or are playing at NAIA Concordia University in Nebraska, where Bryce was an assistant coach when the Twins hired him.
COVID-19 canceled last season, so this is Berg’s rookie go around.
“To be here right now, I never really thought of that as an option,” he said. “Honestly, I never really worried about it. I just wanted to coach, I wanted to help kids and impact people. I thought baseball was a vessel where I could do that. It has brought me here, and I’m looking forward to continuing to learn and trying to find ways to do that now.”
Berg was recommended to the Twins by Kernels co-pitching coach Mark Moriarty, whom Minnesota hired out of Division II University of Mary in North Dakota. Berg had a conversation with Twins director of player development Alex Hassan, Hassan offered him a job, and that was that.
An impressive person overall, one conversation with him is all it takes to recognize his passion for teaching hitting, his overall grasp of the “new school,” analytics-based approach most MLB organizations prefer now and his desire to continue to learn himself. The Kernels (45-38) came into this game third in the High-A Central League with 101 home runs, a club-record pace, and in OPS (.744).
That is stuff the Twins want.
“Hitting the ball hard at good angles is really important,” Berg said. “Because pitchers are good, and getting a single, bunting a guy over to second and trying to score him from second is really hard. We still need to do a better job of when runners are in scoring position, driving runners in. But that challenge is tough because that pitcher is really good. So the more you can hit balls hard at good angles, the faster you can score runs.”
Quad Cities (55-26) is the High-A Central’s best team and has won four of five games in this six-game series, which concludes Sunday afternoon at 2:05. Cedar Rapids remained in a tie with Great Lakes for second place overall and the second of two available playoff spots.
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