Stansbury’s Kaden Nicholes wasn’t necessarily the ace of the Stallions’ pitching staff at the beginning of his senior season, but his work ethic made him one of Stansbury’s most trusted options on the mound.
It has also earned him the opportunity to extend his baseball career. Nicholes has signed with Dawson Community College, a two-year school located in Glendive, Montana, after making an impression at the recent senior all-star game.
“It’s really great to get an opportunity to further my education and getting to go play because I really love baseball and it’s what I want to do,” Nicholes said. “I really love (Dawson) because the coaching staff seems really great. They offered me 50-percent tuition, which was pretty cool.”
Nicholes is the 16th player from Stansbury to sign a national Letter-of-Intent to play college baseball in the past nine years. His coach, Ray Clinton, said Nicholes’ signing is an indication of just how much work he put in both as an athlete and as a student to get Dawson to offer him a partial-tuition scholarship.
“He struggled his junior year,” Clinton said. “Last fall, he got picked up by the Mountain West Academy, played some baseball with them and got some confidence. He’s a workhorse — he was never projected to be our No. 1, and even toward the end of the year, he was our No. 2 or No. 3 and worked his way up and ended up being our No. 1 pitcher at the end of the year.”
Nicholes credits Clinton and his coaching staff for helping him get to this point in his career.
“Ray really helped me a lot,” Nicholes said. “I think the practices really helped. There was a lot of learning that I had to go through — a lot of workouts, learning to throw harder and get my pitches down.”
In nine appearances on the mound, Nicholes recorded a 3-1 record with a team-best 3.47 earned-run average. He had 56 strikeouts and 19 walks in 40 1/3 innings, and opposing batters had a .219 batting average and a .313 on-base percentage against him. He also pitched two scoreless innings in the all-star game.
“A lot of coaches and colleges are looking for that left-handed pitcher,” Clinton said. “He’s going to work hard wherever he goes, and I think it paid off for him.”