Athlete of the Week: Altoona baseball’s Jake Nelson

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ALTOONA, Wis (WEAU) -- The 2018 Western Cloverbelt Conference Player of the Year is at it again; Altoona senior shortstop, Jake Nelson, has the Railroaders off to an 8-2 start on the year. Nelson is our Osseo Automotive Athlete of the Week.

Jake Nelson is well on his way to a 4th Cloverbelt All-Conference team, and he has the Altoona Rails on the right track as well.

“Right now, we’re beating the teams we expect to beat,” Craig Walter, Altoona’s head coach, said. “We’re in a position now, where the next couple weeks are going to tell us a lot about ourselves.”

“We’ve been having a lot of fun on the field,” Nelson said. “I think that’s Coach Walter’s #1 key to success – he likes to have a lot of fun, but during the game, he likes to be serious. We can flip a switch really quickly.”

Nelson, a 4-year starter for the Rails, has won 2 conference titles. The reigning conference player of the year’s main goal for the rest of the 2019 season is to get that 3rd title in his time in scarlet and black.

“I thought it was great. I really have forgotten about it,” Nelson said. “I’m just focused on this year. It would be great to win another one, but I’m focused on winning a conference championship and winning in the playoffs and maybe making a run to state.”

Nelson’s success on the diamond goes far beyond baseball practice.

“He’s so competitive. He works really hard at baseball. During the offseason, even during basketball season, he’s taking swings and he’s throwing,” Walter said of Nelson. “He’s put himself into a position to be a really, really good baseball player at the collegiate level. For us, as a coaching staff here, it’s a luxury. That’s for sure.”

“I feel like the most important thing in baseball is keeping your swing the same all year. I think if I don’t swing for a couple days, I get messed up,” Nelson said. “Swinging during the week just keeps my confidence up and helps during the games, too.”

“He’s a great kid on and off the field,” Walter explained.” We expect every time he swings the bat, something good is going to happen. He’s terrific, not only offensively, but defensively as well. He’s fun to watch even then. He makes some plays look so routine, and nobody else can make those plays. We’re pretty lucky.”

“We’re really focused on beating the top teams in the conference, so we can win the conference championship,” Nelson said.

Nelson has committed to play baseball for Madison Area Technical College next year.