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Nathan Brimbury to call HU home in the fall

CHOPPING AWAY: Peru graduate Nathan Brimbury (C) will continue his baseball playing days after signing on to play for the Huntington University baseball program for the 2018-19 school year. Attending the signing with Brimbury were (L to R) grandmother Libby Atkinson, sister Madison, Huntington University baseball head coach Mike Frame, father and Peru baseball head coach Chuck, mother Michelle and Peru baseball assistant coach Rob Hileman.

BY TRENT SCOTT - tscott@perutribune.com

Nathan Brimbury spent much of the 2018 baseball season battling injury while helping to guide Peru to a sectional title and a trip the Griffith Regional.

Equally as tough during the year was deciding on where to attend school next year as the Tiger senior was not short of options or interested programs.

In the end, Brimbury will make the trek to Huntington University after signing on to continue his baseball playing days with the Foresters in the 2018-19 school year.

Making the move east provided to be the right choice according to the Peru graduate.

“It seemed like a really good fit for me,” Brimbury said. “I like the size of the campus and it was comforting to be there.

“I figured it would also be the best academic place for me. Coach (Mike) Frame is a great coach and it is an honor to play under him.”

Brimbury said one of the main reasons to attend Huntington was the school’s kinesiology department and what he could learn from it.

“I will be majoring in exercise science,” Brimbury said. “From there, I’ll look to get a masters and doctorate degree and either open my own practice or work for a well-known group.

“I haven’t looked in too deeply into what kind of clubs or activities the campus offers but I am sure there are some that I will be interested in joining.”

The Forester baseball team was one Brimbury was very familiar with and was happy to become a part of.

“Huntington plays in the Crossroads League and have been very good the past several years,” Brimbury noted. “They were a game away from playing in the NAIA College World Series in 2017 after winning their conference.

“They see me as being a good teammate, they like the skills I have as a catcher and the way that I worked with my own team. They think I’ll be a good fit within their program.”

Peru baseball head coach Chuck Brimbury said Huntington was getting a complete player in the middle Brimbury.

“Nathan is the best catcher I’ve had in 20-some years as far as the whole package,” Chuck Brimbury said. “He understands pitchers and has caught some very good pitchers in his time, which is not something everybody gets to say.

“He’s prepared skill-wise for Huntington. They’re getting a guy that is an outstanding teammate, someone who cares for his players, his program, his school, representing all of those in the right way win or lose and does things the right way.

“He has good rapport with player No. 1 to No. 29 on the team, managers and coaches,” Brimbury added. “When you put the academics, the core values and the talent together, Huntington is getting our best guy again.”

Having played with several different high-level pitchers over the years, coach Brimbury said the catcher was adept at working with the kind of talent he would be working with on a daily basis.

“We had a scout over here one time who was looking at another individual, had seen Nathan on a different day and noted that he caught both pitchers very well,” Chuck Brimbury said. “The opportunity to catch some of the players we’ve had here has been beneficial and, as we’ve had a number of very good players here, if you’ve played, you’ve been seen by a number of different people.

“Nathan had a lot of interest in him as a defensive catcher. Colleges will give up a lot of attributes if you can handle pitchers, different pitches, block the ball and because of the number of pitchers that he’s worked with, he has a chance to step in and play right away.”

The Tiger skipper added the middle Brimbury did his due diligence when making a decision on where to attend college and was proud as a coach and father at the way his son had gone about the process.

“We tell the kids we love them all the time, which is true, but my two favorite players have had the last name Brimbury,” Chuck Brimbury said. “Nathan handled the process in a very thoughtful and cerebral manner.

“Based on his academics, he applied to 10 different universities that also fit with his major. From there, he looked to see what interest they had in him in baseball, which there was about eight, narrowed it down to three, made extra visits to those locations and said culture, baseball, academic and value-wise, he felt like he fit in at Huntington University.

“It was a challenging decision for him and we waited because he wanted to make sure he knew where he fit,” Brimbury added. “The first time he left Huntington he said, ‘I fit,’ the second time he said, ‘I think I’m going to go there,’ and the next time it was, ‘I love it there.’”

While needing to get several lingering injuries healed, the younger Brimbury said he would be buys getting into better shape ahead of the new school year.

“I’ll definitely be in the weight room a lot,” Brimbury pointed out. “I want to be in the best shape possible that I can be in going in.

“I’ll also be doing a lot of drill work to be ready for fall ball.”

Brimbury said he expected the demands of the exercise science program to keep him busy but was also eager to be put to the test when the fall arrives in both the classroom and the playing field.

“Academically, everything is going to be much more strict and difficult,” Brimbury said. “Athletically, it will be more of a commitment to play baseball but I’m definitely ready for it.

“I’ll miss friends from Peru and the environment of playing here, both playing with the guys I’ve known for years and the fans that created the environment at all the games, but I’m also very excited to start at Huntington in the fall.”