EATON — For Eaton’s Donnie Nicodemus and Seth Gard their college choices were the “right fit” for each respectively.
Nicodemus will attend Sinclair Community College to play baseball, while Gard will further his track and cross country career at Ohio University.
Nicodemus will join the Tartan Pride, a two-year program, to pitch and possibly play third base.
He is the fourth member of the Eaton baseball team — Trevor Pittman (Kent State) and Blake and Bradley Curry (Lake Erie College) — to sign to play college baseball.
“I just feel like Sinclair was the best fit for me for improving my baseball skills and academically. It’s just going to get me ready for the next step after that. I’m just trying to get my name out there and hoping for the best,” Nicodemus said. “I hope that I can help them win another championship like they did last year.”
Nicodemus said after his two seasons at Sinclair are finished he’s hoping to land on a Division I team.
“I’m hoping a D-I, but if not that’s fine too,” he said.
Playing college baseball is a life-long dream of the right-hander.
“Ever since I was a little kid I’ve always been good at baseball. Football and basketball were just kind of there for conditioning reasons getting me ready for the baseball season,” he said. “Baseball has always been number one for me.”
He said he’s enjoyed his time at Eaton.
“It’s been great here at Eaton these last four years. All three sports I’ve played have been fantastic. Even though football and basketball haven’t been the best the last couple of seasons. Baseball has always been there,” he said.
Eaton baseball coach Patrick Flannagan feels Nicodemus has a lot to offer his college team.
“He’s an outstanding young man. He’s always up in the dugout. He’s always on his teammates side. Everybody loves him. I can’t really say enough about the baseball player he is, but more so the human being. I care about Donnie and I can’t wait to see what’s in store for him at the next level,” Flannagan said. “I think this year he just started to tap into what he can do on the mound. The potential is the sky is the limit at Sinclair and beyond. He’s got the stuff to go further. He’s been a huge part of our success the last two years.”
Gard will continue what was a successful high school career at what he called an “up and coming” program at OU.
“When I went to campus it was absolutely gorgeous. I knew right off the bat I wanted to go to OU for just how beautiful the campus was,” Gard said. “They have an outstanding program and it’s an up and coming program. It’s a program where I can take it to the next level. I can improve as a cross country runner as well as being a student athlete. I’m excited to go to OU. Of all the colleges it was the one for me.”
Gard took his time deciding where he wanted to attend school.
“I just visited a lot of places. It’s a hard decision. Your picking from either big schools or small schools. There is such a variety of schools out there. I just had to find the one that fits me right and I think OU is the one that fits me right,” he said.
Gard earned all-state honors three times and was academic All-Ohio four times.
“I think I’ve done very well at Eaton. There’s been some good times and there’s been some bad times. I think I’ve left as much as I could to the program as an athlete. I think I’ve left as much as I could to Eaton as a student-athlete,” he said. Coach (Randy) McKinney has been with me since seventh grade. At first, I didn’t know what cross country was all about and track was all about. He knew what it was exactly all about so he trained me to get to where I am today. Running has definitely been a passion and that’s all thanks to coach McKinney and all my teammates and parents.
Gard started to embrace running as a junior high athlete.
“I thought this is something I could do well at. The first two years of running I was hooked right off the bat,” he said.
“There’s so much I could say about Seth. A guy like Seth, is a guy as a coach during your career, you have the opportunity just one time to work with,” McKinney said. “I’ve been lucky to have a few, but Seth fits right up there at the top with all those young men and women that I’ve had the opportunity and been blessed to coach. I’m going to miss him. I think he made the great choice to go to OU. He had a lot of other opportunities. He spent a long time searching. In the end, when he told me the decision he had made, he was happy.”
Reach Eddie Mowen Jr. at 937-683-4056 or on Twitter @emowen_RH