LISLE – After redshirting his first year on campus at Evansville, Stewart Nelson was itching to return to the baseball field.
Nelson, a Class of 2013 Lyons Township graduate, found a place to play this summer for the DuPage Hounds of the Midwest Collegiate League. The Hounds, which play at Benedictine University, are part of the six-team league for college players to play during the summer.
"After my redshirt year it's very nice to get back on the field playing," Nelson said.
Nelson had the opportunity to play in the Great Lakes League, which has seven teams in Ohio, one in Michigan and one in Kentucky. The MCL also has teams in Chicago, Flossmoor, Joliet, Lexington and Northwest Indiana so if offers the opportunity to play closer to home, which appealed to Nelson.
"That's basically why I came here," Nelson said. "I told my coach [at Evansville] I wanted to play at home because I know the next couple years I'm going to want to face better competition and get into the best league possible. To be at home for this year, it's nice to see my family and everything."
He's also getting a chance to win. The Hounds are in first place in the league with the playoffs set to start at the end of the month.
Nelson, a middle infielder, got to see Evansville win the regular season title in the Missouri Valley Conference this spring. The Aces went 34-21 overall and 15-6 in the MVC. The season ended when the Aces lost both games in the MVC Tournament.
"It was a really exciting year," Nelson said. "I was behind great leadership and a winning team so we ended up winning the Missouri Valley Conference, which was very exciting. Then we had Kyle Freeland who went eighth overall [in the MLB draft] to the Rockies. A lot went on, but I learned a lot from it. It was really nice to be behind that."
The former LT standout is hoping that the year of learning and a summer with the Hounds will help him break into the Aces' lineup next year. Despite sitting out and redshirting, Nelson believes he showed his value and that he can play at that level.
"I adapted pretty well I think," Nelson said. "Obviously I didn't get any playing time as a redshirt, but for practices and everything I felt like I kept up to the best of my ability."