Lindbergh hurler Dan Bjorn throws no-hitter. (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 April 19 as the Flyers downed the Marquette Mustangs 6-0 on. Throwing that no-hitter is something that Bjorn will always remember.
“It felt awesome to finally get one,” Bjorn told STLSportsPage.com “Last year I came close but never could finish it. It feels good to have all the time you put in (to baseball) actually show in a physical result.”
Lindbergh is about two-thirds of the way through the season and sits at 11-11, facing a challenging schedule. They are expected to be in the top part of their District Tournament coming up May 16. Bjorn is scheduled to pitch Tuesday May third at Parkway South. (In case of rain anytime Monday or Tuesday, he will throw at Kirkwood May 4.)
Lindbergh baseball coach Darin Scott has not been surprised at Bjorn’s success.
“Dane is a very gifted, talented left-handed pitcher that is as dedicated to pitching as any high school player I have ever seen,” he said. “It is not surprising for him to pitch a no-hitter because he commands 3 pitches and has the ability to vary speeds and locations very well.”
Bjorn, a junior, has been playing baseball since his childhood. He is a participant in The Perfect Game.
As a sophomore last year Bjorn led Lindbergh to the Class 6 quarterfinals in 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 and led the team with 69 strikeouts.
Lindbergh’s last No-Hitter was Dennis Yingling v. Jackson in the Sectional Game in 2016. He also threw one v. Francis Howell North earlier in the season.
It is somewhat rare to have a no-hitter in high school because of pitch count limits, and the weather being a factor early in the season.
Scott has great confidence in all his pitchers but knows when Bjorn is on the mound there is a good chance good things will happen.
“Dane gives us a great chance to win every time he takes the ball because of his electric stuff and his determination as a competitor,” he said. “His change-up is a devastating pitch because he can throw it in any count and they have to gear up for his lively fastball in the upper 80’s. “
Bjorn has a lot of very accomplished baseball people in his corner including pitching coach Andy Marks, former Kansas University pitching stand-out.
“Ive been with Andy since I was 13 and he’s been super influential in my career and has been a big part of making me the pitcher I am today.”
Baseball has been part of Bjorn’s life since he was a child.
“I started playing baseball when I was four,” he said. “Having an older brother that played baseball helped before that.”
The big turning point was when his parents signed him up at All-Star Performance when he was 10 and he joined the Gamers when he was 12 years old. From that he has been lucky enough to work with former MLB pitcher Matt Whiteside, who along with his wife Bascha own the baseball facility. Bjorn has been enrolled in their MACH 1 pitching program for the past four years. He is shown in the photo, left at All Star Performance (photo courtesy Matt Whiteside)
“He played for me as a 16 and under player last summer and will this summer,” said Whiteside. “Dane is a baseball player who works at his trade year-round. He is a very dedicated young man, who wakes up at 5 a.m. two to three times a week in the off season to workout, back home by 7:30 am, off to school, then to All-Star for training, and in bed by eight-ish, to get enough sleep.”
“I’m sure I wouldn’t be where I was today without Whitey (Matt Whiteside),” said Bjorn. “He leads by example, which I think is super important. He has high expectations but it’s nothing he wouldn’t expect out of himself, and having him this past summer as my head coach has made a mountain of difference in becoming a “pitcher” and not just thrower.”
Whiteside is very high on Bjorn, saying he’s a “great kid and really hard worker.” He says ninety percent of the players who go through their junior year with the Gamers (as Bjorn is doing) go off to play college baseball, and that’s been the case for the last 10 years.
All-Star Performance is a training facility in Crestwood that trains athletes of all ages and level of play. They have instruction for the novice athlete, just getting into the game, or those trying to get up to speed with his, or her peers, as well as high end, comprehensive training for the more advanced players through their MACH 1 program.
Many area star athletes use All-Star as they have everything an aspiring baseball, or softball, player needs in the form of training, including Performance Training, and in-house training partner, Elite Baseball Academy. Besides training at the facility, Bjorn is part of Whiteside’s team “The Gamers.”
“My initial interaction with Dane was as a pitching instructor,” said Whiteside. “For four years, I would be with him at his teams practices in the winter. The last three years or so, I have been fortunate to coach him in games. He has trained with the MACH 1 pitching program, where he works with our lead pitching guy, Andy Marks.”
Bjorn’s family has been instrumental in his development. His parents have played a key role in his pitching health.
“An interesting fact about Dane is both his parents are doctors and they are all very involved in his physical preparation,” said Scott. “They get him prepared for the rigors of pitching with recovery, rehab and building up to pitch.”
Both parents are family medicine physicians.
“Having that in my corner has been awesome,” said Bjorn. “Growing up I’ve learned a ton about nutrition and how the body works and having them 24/7 instead of having to schedule a doctor’s appointment has been a huge advantage.”
He has two brothers Ian and Dylan.
“My eldest brother Ian played sports growing up,” he said. “My middle brother Dylan wasn’t the sporty type, but both of them were hard working in what they had a passion for, and being raised around that helped tremendously. Having the older brothers pick on you to toughen you up didn’t hurt either!”
Bjorn is only a junior but he knows what he plans to do after high school: he has committed to Tennessee
“The thing I loved about Tennessee so much was Tony Vitello, the head coach. He leads by example and works insanely hard day in and day out– and me having 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’re excited and proud that he is committed to the current #1 team in the NCAA–Tennessee,” said Scott.
In getting ready for post-high school play, Bjorn has hired trainers Jeff Huse and Bart Emnett.
“They have made a load of difference, since I started training with them in September of 2020. My body has made a full transformation of being a 145 pounder to weighing 200. They also have been super great at leading by example and helping me in my career.”
Both Scott and Whiteside expect Bjorn to continue in his success in the future.
“His ability to prepare and his dedication to his pitching routine is unmatched for the high school level,” said Scott. “He is very poised and polished as a pitcher especially for a Junior.”