As the month of July wraps up, summer baseball is hitting the homestretch, and today’s update highlights the Huskers spending their summer around the country. In addition to the release, listen to interviews with DJ Belfonte and Zach Herr about their summer league experieces by clicking on the links above.
One team that has already clinched a postseason spot is the Beatrice Bruins, as they won the M.I.N.K. League regular-season title and are 27-7 on the year heading into the final week of the regular season. Freshman Sean Yost is 3-1 in 10 appearances for the Bruins, fanning 20 over 23.2 innings of work, while Erik Bird is 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA, fanning five over two shutout innings in his first appearance of the summer. Tyler Farst is one of the Bruins’ offensive catalysts, hitting .429 with a homer and seven RBIs in just 10 contests, as the Bruins will head to Wichita, Kan., next week for the National Baseball Congress World Series.
Another Husker who has enjoyed a torrid summer is Cody Neer, who has helped the Havasu Heat to a nearly flawless 44-1 record entering next week’s NBC World Series. Neer has appeared in 39 games, hitting .353 with 34 RBIs and 38 runs scored, while also stealing 12 bases for the Heat, which will look to repeat as NBC Champions.
A pair of Huskers have helped the San Luis Obispo Blues to a 43-13 record this summer. Zach Herr has been nothing short of dominant, as he didn’t allow a run in his first 14 appearances and fanned 39 in his first 24.1 innings of work and was chosen to start the Sierra Baseball League All-Star Classic. Outfielder Nick Sullivan has also performed well for the Blues, hitting .311 with a homer and 17 RBIs in his first 24 contests.
In recent years, Nebraska players have found success in the Cape Cod League, facing off against some of the country’s best prospects. In 2008, DJ Belfonte is continuing that trend and helping the Harwich Mariners to a 19-18 record in the nation’s top summer wood bat league. He has appeared in 31 games for Harwich, hitting .280 with a homer and 12 RBIs, leading the Mariners in stolen bases (11) and runs scored (18), while ranking second in both doubles (eight) and hits (33).
While Belfonte is on the East Coast, David Stewart is spending the summer playing in Alaska for Athletes in Action. After a slow start, Stewart has performed well over the last month, raising his average to .236 with a homer and 10 RBIs in 28 games in one of the nation’s top summer leagues.
In the Northwoods League, pitchers Mike Nesseth and Erik Anderson are spending the summer in Duluth (Minn.). Nesseth, who worked exclusively out of the bullpen for the Huskers, has worked out of the starting rotation, going 0-2 with a 2.93 ERA in six starts, allowing just 24 hits in 30.2 innings while fanning 27 in that span. Anderson has been a relief specialist for the Huskies, going 1-0 with a 4.42 ERA in 13 games, fanning 22 over 18.1 innings while holding foes to a .219 average.
Another member of the Husker bullpen making the transition to starting is right-hander Casey Hauptman, who is spending the summer with the Hays (Kan.) Larks. The sophomore-to-be is 5-1 with a 2.78 ERA in 13 appearances and has shown pinpoint control, posting a 49-to-13 strikeout-to-walk ratio over 55 innings of work.
A pair of Husker freshmen are in Wilmington, N.C., for the summer, as shortstop Ben Kline and pitcher Matt Freeman have performed well for the Sharks. Kline is hitting .244 with a homer and 12 RBIs in 24 contests, while fielding at a .956 clip. Freeman has been used extensively in the starting rotation for the Sharks, going 2-3 with a 3.72 ERA in nine appearances, striking out 36 over 48.1 innings of work.