H-SPORTS

Jul 23, 2013 9:05 PM by Andrew Masuda

Santa Maria native Bernier describes first big league hit as incredible, worth the wait

Santa Maria native Doug Bernier described collecting his first major league hit and RBI in front of friends and family an amazing experience. The 33 year old started for the Minnesota Twins at shortstop on Monday night in Anaheim against the Los Angeles Angels.

The St. Joseph High graduate was making just his second start and fourth big league appearance since he started his professional career twelve years ago. During that time, he played in 1,054 minor league games. But he will forever remember his fourth big league game. Not only did Bernier make a spectacular diving grab up the middle to rob Mark Trumbo of a basehit, he also whacked a Joe Blanton pitch down the left field line for a RBI double to collect his first major league hit and RBI.

" It was incredible. I mean to be able to come here and be fairly close to my home in Santa Maria and have some family and friends here and our team won a game and to get a hit and all of that, it was a pretty cool experience," said Bernier, who said his family and friends made the trip to Anaheim from the Central Coast to watch him play.

Bernier received a brief call-up to the majors by Colorado in June 2008. But that stay lasted only three days, during which he played in 2 games and went 0 for 4 at the plate. Bernier said since then he had grown as a player and used it as motivation. Things finally paid off this season when his offense became consistent. He was hitting .295 with 3 home runs and 41 RBI for the Twins' Triple-A team in Rochester.

"There's some time when I'm thinking am I wasting my time, what am I doing. But in the back of my head I still felt like I could do it. I still felt like I could play at this level and that's why I wanted to try. I guess that drive just helped push me to 12 years in the minor leagues," said the former Cuesta and San Luis Obispo Blues infielder.

Bernier said he planned to give the ball from his first hit to his father. " He was always there for me and came to all my games and never missed one through high school. He was always supportive and wanted to help me do whatever he could to help me out. So it's a little gift for him," said Bernier

Doug went 1-5 on Monday and was not in the starting lineup for Tuesday's game against the Angels.

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