Derrick Webb, Staff Writer
CHILLICOTHE — Nate Keiser’s name may not be mentioned much, but rest assured, he’s as important to Unioto’s roster as any other name.
The junior second baseman has been a mainstay inside coach Tony Taylor’s lineup since his freshman year, helping Unioto piece together an overall record of 57-15 during that time.
Throughout his career, Keiser has been a tough out. Even when he’s in a slump, opposing pitchers are going to have to exhaust themselves to send him back to the dugout quietly.
To get to that point, Keiser has exhausted himself putting in the necessary work to get better.
“I’m here after practice, before practice, I practice with my dad on the weekends … I try to do anything I can to get better,” Keiser said. “All of that extra time really helps me do what I can do.”
This season, Keiser has aided the Shermans to a 14-2 overall record with a 9-1 mark inside the Scioto Valley Conference while hitting .327 (18-for-55) alongside four doubles, nine RBIs and 15 runs scored.
That’s while hitting in between Unioto’s set of DeBord twins, Cameron and Carson. In other words, Keiser sees a plethora of fastballs.
“Those are my best friends,” Keiser said of the DeBord twins. “And, of course, they’re really good. I hit in front of Carson and I do see more fastballs. But I just try to do what I can. Throw me a fastball and I’m going to do what I can do to hit it, wherever it goes.”
Keiser’s relationship with Cameron and Carson could be used as an example that fits the entire team’s bond. There’s a reason the Shermans are defending district champions and are looked at as a favorite to repeat … and it isn’t just because of the boatload of talent they boast.
A sense of brotherhood is something you can’t teach. It’s an intangible.
“We’re always tight-knit, on and off the field, just like we always have been,” Keiser said. “We do everything together basically, so we’re all really good friends.”
Making lifelong friends and creating lasting memories, are just two reasons on a long list of why Keiser loves the game. He’s a baseball purist who understands the game’s lessons in life.
“I just like the way the game’s played,” Keiser said. “You can fail so much and still be considered a great player. Think about a guy like Barry Bonds. He struck out so many times but he stills hold the Major League’s home run record. That’s just one of the things I like about baseball. You can fail but there’s always another chance to make it right.”
Last spring, the Sherman failed in a Division II regional final, falling to Circleville by a 4-0 final. But Keiser believes this team, with its pitching prowess, can get back to that level and take advantage of a second opportunity to advance into the Elite 8 in as many years.
“This is one of the best pitching teams I’ve seen around this area,” Keiser said. “We’ve got four or five guys that can go out and take the ball. So, that’s obviously a plus. It depends on how we play. I think this team can go really far if we play to our potential. It’s not making mistakes and controlling what we can control.”