Sophomore Parker Brezinka came on in relief in the fifth inning of Thursday’s Section 5A championship and extinguished PACT Charter’s last real threat to get back in the game.
And then? He went to the bullpen to toss some more warm-up pitches.
Of course, the sight of Brezinka, or for that matter freshman Nathan Psyck, Thursday’s starter, anywhere other than a pitching rubber during this year’s section tournament has been jarring.
“I’ve got his back, he’s got my back,” Psyck said. “We showed we’ve got each other’s backs during the playoffs. I covered him against KMS (Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg), he got me against BBE (Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa). He pitched a great game and then covered me against USA (Upsala-Swanville Area) in the sub-section championship and covered me here again. It’s just kind of like tag-team partners.”
The young tandem shouldered the entire pitching load throughout the section playoffs, with Psyck pitching in four games and Brezinka working in all six.
“I can pitch for days on end,” Brezinka said. “I’ve been feeling great this whole tournament.”
Given his preference, Brezinka isn’t shy about how often he would like to throw.
“Every game,” he said. “I love pitching. I just want to do it every game.”
“Parker, if there was a player of the section, he would have deserved it,” Royalton head coach Aaron Meier said. “When I gave him the ball in the fifth inning (Thursday) I knew he was going to close the door. He’s been telling me he wants the ball. He’s a big-game pitcher.”
Psyck has proven he is too, with both pitching well beyond their years to help a team that was seeded seventh in its sub-section become one of the final eight teams in its class left playing.
“It does not seem like we’re a sophomore and a freshman right now,” Brezinka said. “It seems like we’re at least juniors. It’s an amazing feeling.
“We help each other out all the time,” he said. “If we see something they do wrong, we tell them when we get back to the dugout, we encourage each other. No bad comments or anything, just get them next time.”
Now, that next time will be at state.
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