CLINTON – What is there to do when there is a break from baseball?
The Clinton LumberKings, as well as the rest of the Midwest League, have been enjoying the all-star break that lasted from Monday until Wednesday. The LumberKings pick play back up today with a four-game series at Beloit.
LumberKings outfielder Austin Wilson, who was snubbed from the Western Division lineup, headed back to his college roots at Stanford to receive his diploma.
“It’s more important than an all-star game,” Wilson said. “It should be cool to see some classmates, be back to see family and to rest my body.”
Clinton manager Scott Steinmann hopes that all of his players have gotten rest this week.
“We wanted to get the guys away from the field a little bit this week,” Steinmann said. “We closed the facilities down for a couple of days so that the guys could have a little bit of a mental break.”
Despite the break coming to its end, Steinmann believes the team was in good shape physically and mentally.
“The weather isn’t wearing them down too much, so it’s more of a chance to rest their minds,” Steinmann said.
Easier said than done, according to All-Star Jack Reinheimer.
“Baseball is always on the mind,” he said. “The main thing is to take a little break for your body’s sake because it is a grind out here.”
The second half of the season begins on the road, giving the LumberKings a fresh new slate to work from. However, players and coaches alike believe the first half was productive even though Clinton ended it with 11 losses in the final 12 games and failed to clinch a playoff spot.
“Recently, we’ve been in a little funk, but that happens and just keep grinding it out,” Reinheimer said. “We need to keep working on whatever we need to, and it’s all about winning at the end of the day.”
Clinton pitcher Emilio Pagan believes the second half can provide a fresh, new start.
“The second half will be a fresh start for us to re-focus getting that first playoff spot,” Pagan, also an All-Star said. “We didn’t get the first half done, but there is another opportunity for us to grab that second-half spot.”