ZEBULON, N.C. -- Cameron Roegner vowed to make the Carolina League All-Star Fame all about fun before he took the mound on Tuesday night. It would be hard to blame the birthday boy on that account.
"I'm just trying to have fun, enjoy it," the 25-year-old said of making the start for the Southern Division on his birthday. "It was a good first half, just try and celebrate that a little bit. We get tomorrow off to reset things, then look I'll ahead after that."
The label of "good" understates the quality of the 6-foot-6 Milwaukee left-hander's first half. Roegner leads the circuit with a 1.65 ERA through 13 starts, is third in the league in innings pitched (76 1/3) and tied for third in wins (six).
It has been an ideal season in many ways for the longtime Brewers fan who grew up in Beloit, Wisconsin. Roegner credits the development of his curveball for a nearly two-run drop in his ERA from the 2017 season, giving him four quality pitches on most nights.
The 25-year-old's turned into a workhorse for the Mudcats with two seven-inning outings and one eight-inning start. Halfway through the season, Roegner is only two innings short of his entire workload of last season (78 1/3 IP). The Bradley University product has tried to stay out of the numbers world throughout it all.
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"I just kind of let my eyes tell me with the game, how I'm throwing," Roegner said. "Numbers, they're there, but they fluctuate. There's a lot of things that happen in a game, a ball that could have been an error or a hit. You could have a game where you think you throw well and you just have to go out there and tip your hat a lot to the other side."
Miracles instead of dingers
Mudcats officials opted for a different pregame baseball celebration instead of the usual home run derby. The stars of the Carolina League took the field for a game with players from the Miracle League of the Triangle.
The Miracle League of the Triangle, like more than 200 similar Miracle League organizations in the world, gives special needs youth and adults the opportunity to play baseball, usually on fields built to better accommodate wheelchairs and the like. The Mudcats have been a longtime partner of the Triangle area organization and will use the jerseys worn in the game to raise funds for the organization.
The game-worn jerseys will be autographed by the player who wore it and offered at auction at auctions.carolinamudcats.com with all proceeds going to the Miracle League of the Triangle.
Back at Five County
Royals infield prospect D.J. Burt had experience playing at Five County Stadium -- there are five counties within a handful of tape measure homers surrounding it -- long before his professional career began.
With Fuquay-Varina High School, the infielder played in the North Carolina High School Athletic Association 4A State Championship Series in 2014. The Bengals fell to South Mecklenburg in three games in that series, but Burt still looks back on that experience fondly.
"All great memories," the 22-year-old said. "I hit pretty well here actually, I put on a show for my family back when we were here earlier this season."
Burt is having his best Minor League season so far in 2018, on pace for a career high in batting average (.290) and with a .743 OPS while playing on the left side of the infield and the outfield for Wilmington.
That 2014 Fuquay-Varina High team is having a pretty good June in general. Burt's teammate back then, Brett Daniels is still playing with the University of North Carolina in the College World Series.