Photo by Bill Seals

Boomer Biegalski's All-Star inning a starting point for second half

CEDAR RAPIDS, IA -- Boomer Biegalski's first half didn't end like he wanted it to, but he is hoping to use his Midwest League All-Star experience as a springboard for a strong second half.

It wasn't the end to the first half of the season Beloit Snappers' starting pitcher Boomer Biegalski was looking for, but earning a spot on the Midwest League West Division All-Star Team was a nice reward for a great start to his first full professional season.

After being a steady force in the Snappers' rotation much of the way, the Oakland A's 14th-round selection in the 2015 draft out of Florida State dealt with adversity during his final three starts of the first half. Biegalski allowed 10 earned runs on 21 hits in 13.2 innings, striking out just six batters and walking five.

"I fell into a bit of a slump two of my last three outings, but it happens," Biegalski said. "You've got to keep working your way through it and get back to what you know how to do. I'm working through that right now. Hopefully after the All-Star break, this will give me time to relax and let it go and get back to my normal self."

When he realized he was headed to Cedar Rapids for the All-Star game, Biegalski didn't quite know what to think.

"I kind of had mixed feelings at first, because I originally saw Evan [Manarino] didn't make it and was shocked," Biegalski said. "He's got some of the best numbers in the league and are better than mine - should I have made it over him?

"I did have that stretch where I was throwing very well, and just went into the slump with a bad game when the All-Star thing came out. I was just down on myself in general. I was also happy to make it, but it was mixed."

Eventually Manarino landed on the MWL's West roster. While Manarino had to sit out Tuesday night's game since he's the Thursday starter for Beloit, Biegalski pitched the seventh inning for the West. He gave up a walk to Cubs outfield prospect Donnie DeWees and double to Bowling Green's Brett Sullivan to put a pair of runners in scoring position. Biegalski induced an RBI groundout from Cubs prospect Eloy Jimenez before settling down to retire Austin Allen (Fort Wayne) and Andrew Guillote (Lansing).

Regardless of the result, it was the culmination of an exciting two days in Cedar Rapids for Florida State's former Friday night starter.

"It's so relaxed out here and we're having a good time," he said. "You're getting to play a game that people start out playing as just a fun game. That's kind of the feel we have today."

Biegalski also met up with former hometown rival Carson Sands, who was drafted by the Cubs out of high school in the fourth round of the 2014 draft and was one of five South Bend representatives on hand. 

"I hung out with him a bit on Monday at a social gathering," Biegalski said. "It was cool catching up with him, because he got drafted out of high school and I went through my two years of college. His younger brother pitches now for Florida State."

Once he returns from the MWL's mid-summer classic, Biegalski hopes to push the reset button on his season and get back to the basics. 

"I think I've just been overthinking it, not throwing my game and trying to throw to what the scouting report says instead of sticking to my strengths," he said. "You've always got to know what your strengths are and pitch to those."

Biegalski said he's encouraged by recent bullpen sessions, and that he's starting to get some life on his secondary offerings.

"I'm always working on something new," he said. "Last week I was working on a two-seam and finally got the feel for it this past week. The cutter has been good. The [cutter] velo is where it needs to be and has good movement on it. Everything is starting to come together."

If everything clicks for Biegalski down the stretch of the season, his one inning appearance in Midwest League All-Star Game will be just the start of bigger things as a professional.

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