Beavers in summer college wood bat leagues
Wednesday, July 17, 2013
Beavers in summer college wood bat leagues

BEMIDJI, Minn. – Bemidji State University junior Jack Hegarty (RHP/INF, Brainerd, Minn.) joined the Willmar Stingers of the Northwoods League Wednesday as a relief pitcher. Meanwhile in Kansas, sophomore Tyler Nelson (OF, Hayfield, Minn.) and freshman Mason Bellew (1B, Bemidji, Minn.) are finding success for the North Central Kansas Knights of the Walter Johnson League.

The Northwoods League is a summer baseball league comprised of teams featuring the top college players in the nation and North America. All players in the league must have NCAA eligibility remaining in order to participate. Each team is operated similar to a professional minor league team, providing players an opportunity to play under the same conditions using wooden bats, minor league specification baseballs, experiencing overnight road trips, and playing nightly before fans in a stadium.

In his first season as a Beaver, Hegarty posted a 3-0 record on the bump with a 3.24 ERA in 12 appearances. He also led the team in saves with two. In 25.0 innings pitched, the Brainerd native allowed 11 runs (nine earned) on 28 hits with 24 strikeouts and just two walks. He allowed a .280 opposing batting average.

Playing second base and shortstop, Hegarty was an NSIC Gold Glove Team member after he recorded a .986 fielding percentage. In 147 chances he totaled 91 assists and 54 putouts with two errors. At the plate he posted a .274 batting average with 29 hits, 20 runs scored and six RBIs.

The Stingers are 28-19 this season. Hegarty will be joining former BSU student-athlete and coach, P.J. McIntee, who played from 2005-09 and served as a graduate assistant coach from 2009-11, as he is currently an assistant coach for Willmar.

The last Beaver to play in the Northwoods League was Nick Jelacie (2008-11), who played for the Brainerd franchise before it folded in 2011.

Established over 30 years ago, the Walter Johnson League provides summer opportunities to aspiring semi-pro and college athletes. The league is affiliated with the National Baseball Congress (NBC), which will complete its 79th annual World Series beginning July 28th running into early August 2013.

Both Nelson and Bellew redshirted in 2013, but are making the best of their opportunities for the Knights. In 91 at bats, Nelson owns a .286 batting average with 15 RBIs and 14 runs scored. His RBI total and five doubles both rank second on the team. Bellew owns a .295 average at the plate with 13 hits, seven runs scored and six walks. He has appeared in 17 games, mostly playing first base. 

The Knights are 10-25 this season. The team has a doubleheader tonight as the final preparation for regional play. Former Beaver Trevor Purvis (2011-13) has also joined the Knights for their regional play.

The Bemidji State baseball team finished the season with a 25-22 record to tie for the second most wins in program history. After posting a 13-13 NSIC record to earn the No. 8 seed in the NSIC Tournament, the Beavers made a run to the NSIC Tournament Championship before falling to the top team in the central region – Minnesota State University, Mankato. BSU last concluded a season above .500 in 2002 and the 2013 squad became the 11th team to accomplish the feat in the 62-year history of the program. Head coach Tim Bellew was named NSIC Coach of the Year at the conclusion of the regular season, while five players earned all-conference awards, which included senior Logan Kalis (1B/OF/RHP, Little Falls, Minn.) and senior Lewis Baumann (SS, Colorado Springs, Colo.) as All-NSIC First Team players.

For more information on the Bemidji State baseball program, follow the Beavers on Twitter (@BSUBeavers), like them on Facebook (facebook.com/BSUBeavers) or sign up for the TXTUpdates from BSUBeavers.com text-messaging system through the "Mulitmedia" pull down menu on the main page of BSUBeavers.com.

Nestled in Northern Minnesota’s wooded region and located on the shore of Lake Bemidji, Bemidji State University sponsors 15 varsity athletic programs with NCAA Division I men’s and women’s hockey membership in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association, while its 13 NCAA Division II programs hold membership in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC).

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