Families of OSU baseball team form tight bond traveling to follow sons

Published: Jun. 12, 2022 at 12:41 PM PDT
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CORVALLIS, Ore. (KPTV) - The third-seeded Oregon State baseball team is hosting its first NCAA super regional since 2018. That also happens to be the last time the Beavs won it all for their third national title.

Some local OSU parents are hanging on to every pitch for the orange and black.

Oregon State is playing it safe at home and excelling with homegrowns as no less than a dozen kids on the roster are rooted in the Beaver State.

“There are a lot of birds of a feather here and a lot of the same... Beavers of a tail!” Mark Dernedde said.

It’s all in the family in Beaver nation.

“They prepare the kids,” Derek Dukart said. “They turn them into men when they are done and it’s just a lot of fun.”

It’s double the pleasure for Nicole and Derek Dukart of Lake Oswego who have not just one but both of their sons, Jake and Thomas, suiting up for Benny and the Beavs.

“For them to be together, it was their dream to be together be it football or baseball,” Nicole Dukart said. “They just wanted to be together at the end of the day. They’ve loved it and support each other and for us, it makes it great.”

Enjoy the ride, it goes quick. Shawnna and Rick Verburg of Lake Oswego know that as their son Mitchell is in his sixth season.

“He knew this team had a shot and he was so excited to come back with this team,” Shawnna Verburg said. “That’s why he came back.”

“It’s been a little emotional just every time coming down, we’re like, ‘this could be his last game here,’” Rick Verburg said.

Hosting super regionals for the first time in four years, there are plenty of first-time families agonizing over every pitch and play. Just ask Mary Dernedde.

“Nerves,” she said. “You know, I have my little things that I make sure that I don’t watch when he goes up to bat. I just give him lots of love and say lots of prayers when he is up to bat.”

The Dernedde’s have worn a path on I-5 south from their home in Tualatin to watch their son, sophomore Kyle Dernedde on Oregon State’s road to Omaha.

“They are little boy dreams, right?” Mark Dernedde said. “People want to play baseball at Oregon State and it’s not an easy thing to do. All of the hard work and the commitment that it takes to realize something like this.”

Jaren Hunter starred at Sam Barlow High. Just like his mom, Shelena and big brother Nate.

“You know what, they just keep moving on and it’s like, you know, your heart’s racing and they can do it!” Shelena Hunter said.

They said the calendar is open next week if there needs to be a trip to Nebraska.

“Absolutely it is!” Kent Hunter said. “Everything is ready to go. We got the truck with baggage in it ready to go.”

Redshirt freshman Ryan Brown is the talented righty out of South Salem and the pride of Shannan and Chris Brown.

“There are parents that come from Canada, there are parents that come from Arizona,” Chris Brown said. “The Hjerpes come up here every weekend from California, the Mecklers. We are lucky we just take 40 minutes.”

“Go to work, come to a game,” Shannan Brown said. “Go to work, come to another game.”

Lee and Amy Lawson from Hillsboro are working for the weekend too with their sophomore kid out of Century High.

“Yeah, there were a lot of miles and luckily we just bought a hybrid,” Lee Lawson said. “So we did save a little cash on the fuel.”

“All of us parents will look at each other during the game,” Amy Lawson said. “High five and just cheering each other and our families on. It means the world to us and it means the world to these players.”