“He’s awesome,” Rebekah Clingingsmith said on Host Families Night Sunday at Larks
Park. “He’s really great with the kids. There’s something about him. He’s got a great
Neff, a catcher-turned-pitcher who completed his freshman year at Colorado School of
Mines this spring, did not know what to expect once he arrived in Hays, America. Then he met
the Clingingsmith family.
“In all honesty, it probably was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had,” Neff said. “I
had one sister growing up. I didn’t know what it would be like in one house with five kids,
including me. It was like I was part of the family from Day One.”
Then there is the extended family of Larks fans who fill Larks Park for every home game.
“You look up there (in the stands) – I’ve never played in front of a thousand people
before,” Neff said. “At first, you start freaking out a little bit. Then you just realize it’s all fun.
It’s like you have the support of everyone in the stands behind you. They all want to see you do
Neff, who is just learning to pitch, had a rough start this summer, but in a recent outing
against Denver he pitched a complete game. He allowed one run on three hits, with nine
strikeouts, over seven innings to pick up the victory.
“This summer, I’ve learned everything about pitching,” Neff said. “A first, pitching was
easy. Get up there, throw hard.
“You learn the most when you have those bad games, when you have to figure out what’s
going on,” he added. “I learned everything I know about pitching mentality and what I need to
do to get guys out, this summer.”
Larks manager Frank Leo was pleased that Neff pitched a good game after struggling
earlier in the summer.
“I’m really happy he had an outstanding outing the other day,” Leo said. “He has great
stuff. What we have to remember about Nash is he is a converted catcher. He definitely has a
future when he puts things together.”
Leo said Neff has fit right in with the team.
“He likes being part of something,” Leo said. “He’s become a Lark this summer.”
Rebekah Clingingsmith, whose family is hosting a Lark for a second summer, has
become a Larks fan.
“I enjoy coming to the games,” she said. “I don’t watch sports. I don’t watch baseball,
usually. But when it comes to the Larks, I’m at the game.”