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Nicolet National Bank Senior Spotlight: Will Semb – De Pere baseball

Will Semb

By Rich Palzewic
Sports Editor

DE PERE – Even though De Pere High School baseball player Will Semb wishes he could have played his senior year, he said it might have been a blessing in disguise the season was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 6-foot-1, 188-pound pitcher tore the ulnar collateral ligament in his right arm a few games into his junior season and had Tommy John surgery a year ago.

Semb – who also played soccer his freshman year – is heading to the University of Iowa this fall to play baseball and study business.

“If there’s anything remotely positive that’s come out of the season being canceled, it’s given my arm more rest and recovery,” said Will, who is the son of Scott and Linda Semb. “We all wanted to play this year, so that part stinks. I wouldn’t have pitched, but I would have played maybe second base or been a designated hitter.”

Semb has progressed to throwing 50-60 pitches off the mound at about 75-percent effort.

“My arm feels good – better than before,” said Semb, who before the surgery could pop the mitt at 90-92 mph. “My recovery has gone well, but it’s tough not being able to do something you love. By June, I’ll be at 100 percent. I’m hoping to have the same velocity as before. I’ve done everything rehab-wise I could do.”

Semb said Iowa has been great in dealing with him and his surgery.

“Because I had the surgery shortly after the injury, I’ll be good to go when I get there,” he said. “I don’t plan to redshirt.”

In addition to throwing a hard fastball, Semb also throws a curveball and a changeup.

“It’s tough to say which pitch is my best because they are all effective in different situations,” he said. “I’d pick my fastball, though. When I was 16 and throwing 90, that’s what turned heads and got the scouts looking at me.”

The De Pere baseball program is under the leadership of Bob Van Rens.

“He was a great coach – I liked him,” said Semb, who describes himself as fun, athletic and nice. “He was calm and always had the same attitude.”

Semb’s most memorable moment came during this freshman year against Bay Port.

“We were down 2-1 in the top of the seventh, and I had a base hit to left field,” he said. “As a freshman, that was the first big play I ever made. We ended up winning the game.”

There are lots of talented players in the area, but one stands out in Semb’s mind.

“Max Wagner (from Green Bay Preble) is a great player and hard to get out,” he said. “It’s been fun going up against him.”

His dad is from the Milwaukee area and ran in high school, while his mom grew up in Green Bay.

His sister, Josie, is 20 and attending the University of St. Thomas.

Semb likes spending time with family, staying in shape with running and lifting weights, hanging out with friends, hunting, fishing, the Milwaukee Brewers, the color blue, Snapchat, Monopoly and Major League Baseball pitcher Noah Syndergaard.

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