Wilber-Clatonia’s first ever Division I baseball commit and soon-to-be senior, Hunter Cerveny, wasn’t about to let complacency set in.
Even though he made his verbal pledge to walk-on to the Husker baseball team this past November, his desire to become an even better player led him to play for the Nebraska Sluggers 18 and under squad, an all-star team that features a variety of talent from across the state that seek to play college ball.
Previously, Cerveny played for Wilber’s legion and youth team’s a majority of life – outside of a two-year stint with a team out Lincoln when he was 13 and 14-years-old -- but the opportunity to travel to numerous states to play against elite level competition was something the three-sport athlete couldn’t pass up.
“Just to get used to traveling and just face better competition with some kids that’ll be playing at the next level,” Cerveny said of why he decided to join the team. “I think it is, it’s just good exposure. You get to play in front of other college coaches and travel and play better competition.”
And the Husker baseball coaches didn’t have an influence in the decision either. He strictly took it upon himself to compete on the team.
“I texted them and asked their opinion on it and their like ‘you do whatever you want,”’ Cerveny said.
So how much better was the competition that the Nebraska Sluggers faced compared to his days playing legion ball for Wilber?
“It was definitely a change. This last weekend that I played it was my first time seeing a left pitcher since our state championship game last year. I actually played well that game,” Cerveny said. “The pitches are faster. You see a lot more off speed, but it really didn’t change for me. It really didn’t affect me as much. I still hit as well.”
The last part of the quote is telling and not a stretch of the truth.
To put things into perspective, last summer he dual rostered for the Wilber junior and senior legion team’s. He hit a combined .497 average at the plate with 86 hits in 173 at bats. He tallied one home run, eight triples, 17 doubles, and 60 singles, which translated to 62 runs and 58 RBIs.
With the Nebraska Sluggers he led the team with 34 hits – seven more than any other player – while hitting a .472 average. He struck out only once in 72 at bats and tallied team-highs with 23 RBIs and 26 runs.
To keep his production at a high level this summer he learned to become more patient at the plate. He thought the biggest improvement to his game over the summer was his ability to make pitchers go deep into pitch counts (i.e., quality at bats). 
“I actually learned to get better at bats. Seen a lot more pitches, each at bat. Like I worked the count to full at least half my at bats,” Cerveny said.
His team reaped the benefits of his production, recording a 19-6 record that was accumulated between June 8 and July 29. The Nebraska Sluggers played only six of their 25 games at a variety of locations in Nebraska including Haymarket Park in Lincoln, Werner Park in Papillion, and Doane University’s baseball field. Outside the state, the team played in Kansas, Oklahoma, and Illinois.
Cerveny’s success and his team’s success led to some out of state colleges getting in contact with the Husker commit. He admitted for the most part coaches stayed away knowing he was a Husker commit but those that didn’t soon found out he was not going to waver from playing baseball for the University of Nebraska.
A first for the starting fullback and defensive end for the Wilber-Clatonia football team was getting moved to the centerfield position. In previous summers he had played, right field, first base, and pitcher.
The move initially took Cerveny out of his element, but it didn’t take long before he adjusted to the responsibilities of the position.
“The first week it was kind of awkward, but once I started playing there it just got easier and easier,” he said. “I would read the balls easily. It wasn’t really much of a change. You can see the field more and you got more ground to cover.”
In the mean time he was still paying attention and talking to his friends that played for the Wilber Seniors legion team that ended their season one game away from a state title appearance in Class C.
He added that they were more than understanding of him joining the Nebraska Sluggers and shared support for one another.
“I was proud of them. They had a really good season They’re good friends, they understand. I was just glad that they got as far as they did,” he said.
Cerveny hopes that his summer baseball experience could help him earn a scholarship with the Huskers. He said he has yet to decide if he will focus on the baseball in the spring rather than competing in track although he does plan on playing basketball in the winter.
This fall will mark the third year he has started on both sides of the ball for the Wilber-Clatonia football team.