Lebanon - The one common theme as coaches and teammates talked about Lebanon senior baseball player Ryan Nastav was his work ethic and dedication.
All that hard work has paid off for Nastav, as he signed to play baseball at Manchester Friday afternoon.
“I am very excited to make it official,” Nastav said. “Not many people get a chance to go to college and play a sport they have been playing their whole lives. I feel blessed to be able to pursue what I love at the next level.”
Manchester plays in Division III and in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference.
They are 14-23 so far this season under head coach Rick Espeset.
Nastav said one of the things that drew him to Manchester was Espeset, who develops players on and off the field.
“Their coach is a really good, not only baseball coach, but coach of lifestyle in general,” Nastav said. “He knows how to manage college students, make sure they are up to date with grades and time management, while being the best person they can be.”
Nastav has battled back from injuries throughout his entire high school career.
He suffered a broken back, which set him back in his development. He said all of that makes him more appreciative of the opportunity to play at Manchester.
“I appreciate this so much more because of that,” Nastav said. “We you haven’t been injured, it’s hard to imagine how worse it can get and where you have to come from. The more injuries that rack up, it is much more heartwarming to see all these opportunities that you don’t have when injured. With my brace on, it took me three or four days to work again, and now I am going to be playing baseball in college, it’s unbelievable.”
This season for the Tigers, Nastav is second on the team with a .340 batting average and has two doubles.
He has 115 putouts and 15 assists.
“One of the main traits (Espeset) goes after are kids that are willing to work, but will except their role on the team,” Nastav said. “No matter who you are, or what position you will play, on and off the field if you support your team that’s what he is looking for.”
Nastav said that he has been focused on numerous aspects of his game to help get him ready for the next level.
“This is the first season I have been on the field catching and being able to hit,” Nastav said. “Being able to stay focused, hit the ball and got on base as much as possible is something I have been working on, as well as limiting passed balls and throwing runners out. Those have been the main focuses.”
When looking back at his time at Lebanon, Nastav said he is going to remember the camaraderie of the Lebanon community.
“I will remember the commitment that was needed to be on this team, and the team in general,” Nastav said. “Every kid I have played with has been a friend and a great teammate. They know when to pick me up when I am down, and when to push me to get a little fire going. It is remarkable here, I haven’t seen everywhere better around.”
Nastav plans on studying engineering and physics.