Burke Nesbit’s college plans are to hit the hard court at Augsburg, continuing his sharp-shooting love for basketball.
But for a weekend, he enjoyed the honor of playing with Minnesota’s best high school baseball players at Athletic Field in Chaska. The 45th Annual Play Ball! Minnesota High School All-Star Series was played June 28-30. Nesbit, who played a flawless center field in the spring for the Le Sueur-Henderson Giants, joined St. Peter’s Andy Regner on the South All-Stars.
Regner’s Saints team edged out Nesbit’s Giants 3-2 in the section final, earning a trip to the Minnesota State High School League state tournament. But for this weekend, the two were teammates in the all-star series.
Bryce Novak of Cleveland was also named to the South squad but didn’t play due to a late season injury.
Nesbit led the team during the regular season with a .478 batting average. But it was his speed and aggressiveness on the bases, along with his solid defensive play in center field which impressed LS-H baseball coach Rick Bruns.
Nesbit stole 22 bases during the season and played errorless baseball in his center field spot.
“Pretty cool to have three local athletes in an all-star game,” Bruns said. “This is a pretty big deal for the kids. Over 180 were nominated statewide and around 70 are selected.”
Better yet, Bruns says, Nesbit is a great person.
“We had a great season,” Bruns added. “And this bunch of guys was just a treat to be around.”
“Burke is just a great kid,” Bruns said.
Nesbit was simply honored to be included, despite his preference toward basketball.
“It means a lot, especially coming from Le Sueur-Henderson,” Nesbit said, happy to represent the Giants solid season and near-miss in the section finals to St. Peter. It came as a pretty big surprise.
“I was not really thinking very much of it,” he said. Nesbit was nominated by coach Bruns and selected by fellow coaches.
It also helped soothe, a bit, the season-ending loss to the Saints, Nesbit added.
“We just kind of ran out of gas,” he said, having to come back through the consolation bracket after getting upset by Belle Plaine in the second round. “That’s baseball, I guess.”
Regner continued his amazing career, wrapping up a fifth season for the Saints and carrying them to their first state tournament since 1989. He was also named the South’s MVP and earned a “Gold Glover” award for his shortstop play.
Regner moves on to Minnesota State University, Mankato, to continue his baseball career. He’ll also play some St. Peter America Legion games and with the town team through the summer before heading to MSU.
St. Peter baseball coach Kurt Moelter, who also played in the all-star series in 1993, said Regner’s competitive attitude should do him well in college.
“Andy has a true passion for baseball and for competing,” Moelter said. “He is always trying to improve his game and get better. Everything he does, in practice or in games, is to improve.”
In turn, Regner praised Moelter.
“Coach Moelter has done a great amount for me, giving me that opportunity as an eighth-grader to step in as varsity player,” Regner said. “Every coach that I played for saw some potential in me and gave me the opportunity. Once you get that opportunity, you try to make the most of it. I strive for working hard and playing well when I get the chance.”
(See the complete feature story on Regner by Pat Beck in the St. Peter Herald’s June 27 edition.)
The South team also included 17 other high school players from outstate Minnesota: Weston Gjerde, Kerkoven-Murdock-Sunburg; Karson Legred, Blue Earth Area; Austin Irlbeck, Red Rock Central; Noah Buseman, Montevideo; Mark Buringa, St. Charles; Jaylen Vaughn, Winona; Derek Lundgren, Luverne; Drew Copley, Grand Meadow/LeRoy-Ostrander/Kingsland; Hunter Guyette, Austin; Isaac Schmitt, Marshall; Jacob Berg, Sleepy Eye; Aidan Merges, Rochester Century; Brady Kraling, Rochester Lourdes; Hayden Brown, Rochester Lourdes; Kobe Lovell, Windom Area; Sam Nascak, Winona; and Travis Rittenhouse, Rochester Century.