Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Connections lead Cyclone star Roth to Pratt

By Greg Mast/Herald Sports Editor | 3/3/2014

Networking or connections have always been a key to people finding jobs and other things in life.

Nathan Roth used his connections to find the right college to play baseball. The Ottawa High School senior felt the best place for him was Pratt Community College. He signed Friday in the OHS library.

Networking or connections have always been a key to people finding jobs and other things in life.

Nathan Roth used his connections to find the right college to play baseball. The Ottawa High School senior felt the best place for him was Pratt Community College. He signed Friday in the OHS library.

He joins former Cyclone teammates Greyson LaPlant and Taylor Graf, who are freshmen for the Beavers.

“I heard a lot about it from Greyson,” Roth said. “He liked it. They have young coaches so they are relatable. Their starting rotation is all sophomores so they will be gone. I have a chance to come in and throw right away for them.

“That was enormous. I did not want to go somewhere and not play for a year.

“It was the connections with Greyson and Taylor there. Their head coach played for my fall coach. My fall coach’s son pitched there. I heard a lot of great things about it from them.”

Greyson said Roth will make an impact for Pratt.

“I’m excited to have Roth on the same team again,” he said. “We’ve played together since we were little and it’s awesome to have the chance to continue our relationship next year.

“He has a ton of potential and I think he will develop into a big-time player after his time at Pratt.”

Another big part of the decision was how Pratt coach Eric Thompson emphasized academics.

“Coach Thompson took over a couple of years ago,” Roth said. “He puts a big emphasis on education. That is the first priority. I am going to school for education first. Once you get that going, it brings more disciplined players. They work harder in baseball.

“Several years ago they were not too great. Every year they have progressively gotten better and better. That starts with the coaching position.”

Roth will be a pitcher only for the Beavers. He has been the ace of the OHS and Ottawa American Legion squads.

“I will miss hitting and playing first base,” he said. “I love pitching ... being able to control the game. I need to get my stamina up. Get my changeup perfected. That has been my problem, not having a changeup. Best combination in baseball is fastball and changeup. It is all about finding that right grip.”

Roth said he filled out a questionnaire for a lot of colleges, including Pratt. He said Thompson set up a visit in the fall.

“They had Greyson come out and we played catch,” Roth said. “I threw about 10 of the worst pitches in my life. They did not care. They saw something in me. They love the potential. After I threw the first one, they wanted me.

“They took me into the office and talked 45 minutes to an hour. Explained every little detail. They emphasized they liked my character.”

Baseball has been a big part of Roth’s life.

“You think you spend your entire life gripping a baseball, but in reality baseball is gripping you,” he said. “It is exactly true.”

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