At least it's not nightmares on the mound keeping Justin Kemp awake at night.
Kemp, a senior reliever at Wichita State, is pitching for the Anchorage (Alaska) Glacier Pilots this summer. Even for a veteran of a second Alaska summer, adjustments are significant for life in the 49th state.
"It's somewhat hard to sleep," Kemp said. "It gets light around 4 a.m. and I usually wake up and can't get back to sleep because of the sunshine coming through the window."
Everything is going smoothly once he gets out of bed — Kemp is 2-1 with a 3.05 ERA and three saves in 20 2/3 innings over 15 appearances. Over his first 13 appearances, his ERA stood at 1.98. The sidearm delivery he started working on last season at WSU may be taking hold.
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"It takes awhile to get comfortable," Kemp said. "I've been able to experiment. There's less pressure in summer ball."
Less pressure doesn't mean Kemp isn't working hard with the Glacier Pilots. He knows he has one more season of college baseball, and he knows the Shockers need him to perform better than in his first three seasons. Kemp will be one of five seniors, three of whom played minor roles in 2010.
"If you take (summer baseball) seriously, it can be a good stepping-stone," he said. "We lost quite a few players, so I definitely have a chance to take on some leadership."
For three seasons Kemp, from Baxter Springs, tantalized and frustrated WSU pitching coach Brent Kemnitz. He showed the ingredients — good arm, athletic ability — without performing consistently. Before last season, Kemnitz and Kemp switched from an over-the-top delivery to sidearm. It didn't seem to work — Kemp compiled a 6.52 ERA in 12 appearances.
Kemnitz, however, believes Kemp is going through the normal ups and downs of the change. He succeeded at first, then struggled. Now, by sticking with it, Kemp is riding the high side of the learning curve. Former Shocker Jared Simon made a successful switch to sidearm late in his career, and Kemnitz hopes Kemp can do the same. Changing his delivery added some movement and deception without taking away speed.
"I think he's a pro prospect and a guy that no question can help us as a senior," Kemnitz said. "He's getting confidence, and that's what excites me."
Kemp isn't the only Shocker doing well in Alaska. Shortstop Tyler Grimes hit .309 through his first 30 games with the Kenai Peninsula Oilers and Kemp said his teammate looks like a different player.
"He's hitting leadoff, and he's a pain in every team's (butt)," Kemp said.
Learning fast — Scott Schebler spent most of the spring as the DH at Des Moines Area Community College. This summer, he is learning the outfield, where is he expected to play for Wichita State.
Hitting is something Schebler already does plenty well. Through 41 games, he is hitting .289 with six home runs for Green Bay of the Northwoods League. He will play in Tuesday's All-Star game in Eau Claire, Wis. Schebler also has eight doubles and 28 RBIs in the wood-bat league, as well as 32 strikeouts and nine walks.
"He's not up there trying to hit the ball out of the park," Green Bay manager Jordan Bischel said. "He has a lot of opposite field hits. He plays the game hard, and has the speed to beat out infield singles."
Schebler plays left field for Green Bay, which is where he will likely land at WSU in the fall. He played shortstop in high school before moving to the outfield to take advantage of his speed and arm.
"It's definitely a different animal," Schebler said. "I'm taking a lot of fly balls in batting practice, trying to get the angles down."
Bischel called Schebler one of the most talented players in the Northwoods. Those skills don't keep him from working.
"He doesn't sit on that and let that carry him," Bischel said. "He gets to the park early."
New Shockers — WSU's track and field team added 17 athletes, 13 from Kansas schools.
The first addition to pay off may be Scarla Nero, sister of WSU cross country runner Tonya Nero. Scarla Nero, from Colby Community College, finished eighth in the NJCAA cross country championship in 2009 with a time of 18 minutes, 24 seconds in the 5-kilometer race. In May, she won the 10,000 meters at the NJCAA meet with a time of 37.17:66.
WSU also signed Kapaun Mount Carmel thrower Emily Cook, Gardner-Edgerton middle-distance runner C.J. Johnson, Cowley County pole vaulter Katie Gilmore, Derby heptathlete Jaden Prewitt, hurdler Natalie Morerod of Gardner-Edgerton, sprinter D.J. Lindsey of Tonganoxie, distance runner Neil Metler of Derby, distance runner Justin Scott of Blue Valley West, decathlete Mac Griffith of Cowley County, thrower Jeff Connors of Southeast, distance runner Robbie Martinez-Garcia of Northwest and distance runner Ryan Hocker of Olathe East.
From out of state, WSU signed sprinter Kiara Giles from Rufus King High in Wisconsin, spinter Monaye Williams of Broken Arrow, Okla., heptathlete Sarah Gilbert from the University of Sioux Falls (S.D.), and jumper Greg Mason of Itasca, Texas.
New homes — Two former Shockers settled on schools to continue their athletic careers.
* Basketball player Kenny Manigualt told media members in South Carolina that he will transfer to The Citadel. He will be eligible in 2011-12 with three seasons of eligibility. Manigault, a 6-foot-4 guard, played in 16 games as a freshman at WSU and averaged 7.2 minutes
* Baseball player Josh Rosecrans will go to Alabama after spending last season at Grayson (Texas) Community College. He hit .469 at Grayson. Rosecrans spent his freshman season at WSU, where he played in 37 games as a catcher and DH and hit .259.
Worth noting — WSU hired Brian Petrotta as assistant director of media relations. Petrotta will continue as the radio voice of women's basketball.... WSU's Volleyball 101 Dinner is Aug. 21 at Koch Arena. Tickets are $30. For information call 978-5549.