Big Reds’ catcher Nolan Brace off to OVU

File Photo PHS catcher Nolan Brace fields a ground ball against South Charleston during a 2019 regular-season game. Brace recently chose OVU to continue his baseball career.

PARKERSBURG — Ohio Valley University head baseball coach Chad Porter got another commitment when ex-Parkersburg Big Red catcher Nolan Brace signed to play for the Division II Fighting Scots.

“I know a few guys over there I’ve played travel ball with, but there will be a lot of new faces,” said Brace, who scored a 1290 on his SAT and had a cumulative GPA right at 3.4.

“Before this year, I just really liked hitting. I didn’t want to play defense. I hated it. This year I realized I could save my team some runs back there and I plan on continuing to do that.”

Brace said he felt he had a “plus-arm” and admitted “my talks with them (OVU) were pretty late.”

During his senior campaign for PHS skipper Alan Burns, Brace played in all 22 games. He hit .306 with a home run and had 18 runs-batted-in, the second most for the Big Reds.

“He started for us the last two years,” Burns said. “He played some as a sophomore and DH’d. He was our full-time DH his junior year and pitched and this senior year he was a full-time catcher and pitched some.

“He’s a super kid. A real good leader and one of those guys who just gets along with everybody. He took in the freshmen this year in our conditioning and was there in the middle of the freshmen and sophomores. That’s what you look for in a leader.”

Although he almost opted to head to fellow D2 member West Liberty University, Brace decided to stay local.

“I just wanted to stay home and play baseball where my family can watch and get an education at the same time,” admitted Brace, who is planning to major in secondary social studies education.

“I’ve really liked baseball since I was little. I got into it because my whole family had been in it at some point.”

Brace added he loved catching and “I know I’m best at blocking and preventing runners from advancing. I know I also have to get better at about everything.”

When asked if he recalled any fond memories from his time as a Big Red the catcher replied, “a lot of Wendys” and added “I’d say probably Ripley. We had four home runs in a game as a team. That was fun. Not me. I wish.”

With his collegiate decision behind him, Brace is focused on making himself better and being a quality student-athlete while at OVU.

“I plan on trying to get bigger and stronger. I figure my worst attribute is my speed,” he added.

“I would’ve never believed if you told me when I first started playing baseball I’d play in college, but when I started high school I realized I had an opportunity to.”

Contact Jay Bennett at jbennett@newsandsentinel.com