Editor’s Note: The following first appeared in the University of Iowa’s Hawk Talk Daily, an e-newsletter that offers a daily look at the Iowa Hawkeyes, delivered free each morning to thousands of fans of the Hawkeyes worldwide. To receive daily news from the Iowa Hawkeyes, sign up HERE.
By JAMES ALLAN
IOWA CITY, Iowa — Robert Neustrom went to the Cape Cod League as a temporary player; he left as an All-Star.
The University of Iowa junior outfielder finished his All-Big Ten sophomore season June 4 in the Hawkeyes’ NCAA Regional loss at Houston. He was in Massachusetts 10 days later, joining the Hyannis Harbor Hawks on a two-week contract.
“I went to the Cape as a temp player and I made it a goal to earn a full contract,” said Neustrom. “Once I did that, I said let’s keep this going and see if I can make the All-Star Game.”
Neustrom put together a solid summer in the Cape, playing against some of the best amateur players in the country. He finished with a .302 (29-of-96) average with five doubles and four home runs, while driving in 18 runs and scoring 16 times.
He ranked in the top-10 in the league at the midway point in RBIs and home runs.
“I was pleased with the summer I had,” said Neustrom. “I continued working hard and I think it paid off. I was able to play with and against challenging competition. Every night we would see a good pitcher and good hitters. I was able to learn from a lot from other players.”
Neustrom earned the All-Star Game appearance in a vote of the league’s 10 head coaches.
“It was a huge honor to be named to the All-Star Game, especially with the caliber of players that play in the Cape,” said Neustrom.
Neustrom enjoyed his Cape experience. He took in a Boston Red Sox game at Fenway Park, went fishing in the Atlantic Ocean, and during a final team gathering, a host family hosted the team for a lobster cookout.
“Living in the Cape was awesome,” said Neustrom. “It is a hot vacation spot, so it was cool to be there for the summer. There were so many fun things to do.”
Neustrom knows playing in the Cape was a special opportunity; it is one he doesn’t take for granted.
“It was a great experience and I was blessed to have the opportunity to play there,” said Neustrom. “It’s one I can draw upon moving forward. I have to continue to work hard to help build something special with this new team at Iowa in 2018.”
The Hawkeyes will travel to Wichita, Kansas, to play in the NBC World Series from July 30-Aug. 6. Iowa opens play against the Wellington (Kansas) Heat at 7 p.m. (CT) at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium.