BOYNTON BEACH, Fla. — Recruiting student-athletes that have the size of Nick Fratz is a no-brainer.
That’s especially the case when coming from a program such as American Heritage (Fla.) High School.
Fratz, a senior pitcher and first baseman out of Boynton Beach, Fla., will bring his 6-4, 255-pound frame to Shawnee State as the South Florida native adds important depth to the program.
“To me, playing baseball at the collegiate level has been a dream of mine since I was a little kid,” Fratz said. “It shows me that I can accomplish anything and overcome any obstacles in life.”
While Fratz mainly played junior varsity baseball throughout his career, the senior was expected to play a larger role in the pitching rotation for an American Heritage program that had won nine FHSAA (Florida High School Athletic Association) district championships in 15 years.
Unfortunately, due to the circumstances that resulted from COVID-19, Fratz wasn’t able to make that impact.
However, Fratz’s work ethic — and tools — were noticed.
With his commitment to SSU, he became one of 10 student-athletes on the 2020 unit to sign with a college program for the upcoming 2021 campaign.
“I was always a true first baseman who dabbled with pitching up until my junior year,” Fratz said. “I worked really hard at it from then on. During the spring of my senior year, I became a pitcher exclusively. The competition was definitely fierce. It made it better. We were always in the gym and on the field to get better as a unit. I think that’s what made us so good.”
Outside of the game of baseball, Fratz continued to make the best of his time at American Heritage.
A player with a solid fastball, changeup and breaking ball and a frame to build on, the Delray Beach, Fla. native’s academics were especially on point throughout — as Fratz posted a 3.8 GPA during his time at American Heritage while taking honors courses at the school.
His performance in the classroom, as impressive as it was, was only one-upped by his work in the community.
The Student Government Association Treasurer at American Heritage, Fratz graduated high school with more than 500 hours of community service work, and was a member of a non-profit club called Education Rocks — where Fratz helped raise money to pay for an individual’s education in the country of Bali, a third-world country with no free education system.
With SSU, Fratz simply felt that his academic and athletic goals aligned in a proper fashion.
His connection with SSU assistant baseball coach Casey Claflin, in addition to Shawnee State’s business management program, sold Fratz on the program.
“After studying the rosters of many schools, I felt like I fit in good with Shawnee State,” Fratz said. “They also had my major, so I sent (Casey) Claflin some video of me pitching, and we just started emailing back and forth.”
Fratz’s goals, however, go well beyond playing college baseball.
After all, he’s on a mission to accomplish something nobody in his family has done before.
“Baseball is a big priority, but I want to prove myself off the field as well,” Fratz said. “Achieving a four-year degree is what is most important to me because I would be the first of my family to do so.”