By Bruce Strand
Elk River Star News
What you want from your starting pitcher is that he give his team a good chance to win the ball game, and Adam Nauth usually delivered that for the Rogers Royals in his two years on the hill.
Nauth, much better than his 6-6 career record would indicate, made all-conference both years. The 6-foot-1, 180-pound right-hander posted a 1.24 ERA and 4-3 record this spring, with 40 strikeouts in 45 innings. Last season, he was 2-3 with a 2.75 ERA and 23 strikeouts in 35 innings.
“Great arm, excellent physical condition and strength, and baseball smarts,” assessed coach Brian Harapat, adding that Nauth is an honor student and a pleasure to have in class. “Adam is a true competitor and very well-liked by his teammates and coaching staff alike.”
The Royals won their section openers the past two years — their first playoff wins since moving to Class 3A in 2010 — with Nauth pitching complete games in both, beating Osseo 3-2 last year and Blaine 5-4 this year.
Another highlight this year was throwing a four-hit, 4-1 win over North Branch, only to be diagnosed after the game with double pink-eye, showing his competitive nature, Harapat pointed out.
Nauth also took a no-hitter into the seventh inning against a good Chisago Lakes team in he opener this year, only to lose 5-1 with the Royals making six errors. Harapat said that game was fairly typical of the tough luck he pitched in.
“I wish things would have worked out better and we could have gone farther,” said Nauth about the Royals 9-14 season, “but it was a satisfying season overall.”
Not an overpowering pitcher, he relies heavily on “good location, hitting my spots.” His best strikeout pitch (he’s had 63 in 80 innings) has been a knuckle curve.
Nauth started at second base as a sophomore when he couldn’t pitch due to an elbow problem. He was an outfielder and pitcher the last two years.
After not hitting much his first two seasons, he led the Royals offensively this year with a .371 average (20 singles, three doubles), nine runs, nine RBI’s and eight stolen bases. “I just had more confidence this year,” said Nauth.
Harapat appreciated how the rest of Nauth’s game came around this year.
“He went from never playing outfield to one of our most dependable guys out there,” said the coach. “He’s not the fastest guy, but he learned how to read pitchers and get good jumps.”
Nauth said his career highlight was beating St. Michael-Albertville his junior year because “we had never beaten them in all my years of youth baseball and high school.”
Nauth was a one-sport athlete except for joining the football team as a senior, playing special teams. He continues in Legion ball, whose season started this week. In the fall, Nauth, who had a 3.9 GPA, will start at the U of M’s Carlson School of Management.
The Nauth Scorecard
Personal file — Age: 18 … Family: parents Jessica and Val; siblings Mike, 24, and Hannah, 22 … Sports: baseball, football .. Academics: 3.9 GPA … College plans: Univ. of Minnesota, accounting major
Favorite stuff — Class: pre-Calculus … TV shows: “Anything on ESPN” .. Movie: “Step Brothers” … Reading: Sports Illustrated … Food: Chili Cheese Dog … Drink: Mt. Dew … Music: rap, especially Drake … Teams: all the Minnesota teams … Athlete: Denard Span … Hobbies: X-Box, fishing … Wants to visit: Normandy Beach