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From De Pere to Rockers, Semb ‘happy to be home’

By Rich Palzewic
Sports Editor

ASHWAUBENON – It’s been quite the journey for Green Bay Rockers starting pitcher Will Semb.

Semb, a 2020 De Pere High School graduate, has started seven games for the Rockers this season, with his most recent outing July 9 against Kalamazoo.

The 6-foot-1 righty threw six innings of five-hit ball, giving up three earned runs and striking out 10.

Semb improved to 2-5 overall this season.

“It’s been a fun ride so far,” Semb said. “For me, it’s nice because I can live at home and get my lifts and workouts in. It’s the best of both worlds seeing my family while playing baseball.”

Semb said sleeping in his own bed at night at his parents’ house is a luxury not many players get.

“Especially at this time of the season, guys miss being home and want to see their families,” he said. “We just got done with a long second semester (of college) with classes and playing, and now we’re playing 72 more games this summer.”

Semb said the grind of playing that many games – 72 games in 76 days – is “extremely difficult.”

“It’s a lot,” he said. “Obviously, all of us here like baseball, so it’s more fun than anything. It’s fun being at the ballpark every day.”

Semb tore the UCL (ulnar collateral ligament) in his right arm shortly into his junior season in high school.

“I had (Tommy John) surgery in June (2019) and rehabbed after that,” he said. “The doctor also moved my ulnar nerve during the surgery. It was a bit more than a year of rehab until I got back into games.”

Semb, who didn’t play his senior year in high school because of the COVID-19 pandemic, said he couldn’t “even pick up a baseball” until six months after the surgery.

“That was hard,” he laughed. “It was a weird feeling throwing for the first time again. You’re happy to throw, but you also realize how limited you are. It was 15 throws from 30 feet.”

Before the surgery, Semb said he was popping the mitt at 92 mph, but he’s since upped his game at the University of Minnesota.

“I’ve been clocked as high as 97 at college,” he said. “I’m feeling good.”

Out of high school, Semb originally committed to the University of Iowa.

“I played at Iowa my freshman year,” he said. “It wasn’t the best fit, so I entered the transfer portal after the season.”

Semb then transferred to Minnesota – the same school recent Notre Dame Academy graduate and Rockers pitcher Caden Capomaccio will attend.

“There was a new, one-time transfer rule implemented where you didn’t lose a year of eligibility,” he said. “It’s been fun so far. We have a young squad (at Minnesota) but got better as a team. Hopefully, with the young talent we have coming back, we’ll have a better year.”

Semb, who will turn 21 in the fall, will then be draft eligible.

“It’s definitely a goal (to be drafted into the Majors),” he said.

Until then, Semb said he’s going to focus on the Rockers and try and help the team turn the season around.

“We’re looking to win more games,” he said. “We’re putting in the extra work – everybody is here, and I think we’re going to start clicking as a team.”

The Rockers finished the first half of the Northwoods League season 10-26.

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