by Will Conerly
There are two nurses that will play integral roles in Nathan Blauser’s immediate future: one he needs and one he loves.
The first one will help him recover from shoulder surgery. The second will help him create a future. He met both of them because of baseball.
Three years ago, a distance of more than 700 miles separated 21-year old Nathan Lewis Blauser from Quincy University.
But somehow, the Fort Worth, Texas native found QU and the two have been inseparable ever since.
Blauser’s adventure began when he committed to QU to play baseball late in his senior season at Northwest High School.
Blauser is a right-handed pitcher who simply wanted to discover his potential and land a spot on the QU pitching staff.
“I wanted a program that knew how to develop players,” Blauser said.
Blauser, now a junior, quickly learned that in order to receive playing time and be successful as an athlete his singular focus needed to be on developing. And so after his freshman season at QU, when he did not have one varsity appearance, things dramatically changed.
In the off season, Blauser’s focus, dedication and work ethic reached new heights as he increased his commitment to being a better player.
“The goal was to contribute,” Blauser said.
Blauser worked tirelessly to develop, get stronger and throw even harder.
His workouts and throwing program increased to a consistent five days a week.
“That summer changed my life, I’ve never been able to work so hard for something and have it come to fruition in that manner,” Blauser said.
During this same period, the right-handed hurler improved physically. He lost 30 pounds and gained 5 miles per hour on his fastball. He was set to contribute for the Hawks in his sophomore year after QU had its most prolific postseason run in school history the year before.
Blauser impressed everyone when he returned to Quincy to begin his second year and enjoyed success in the fall of 2017. The Hawks, who had just hired a new pitching coach, seemed to have a place for the 6’4” Texas native.
“What Blauser did that fall was unprecedented, I mean to come back and improve so much in three months really shows you what kind of person he is, he wanted it, and enjoyed the fruits of his labor,” Kevin Fitzgerald, a middle infielder for QU, said.
Then everything came to a screeching halt. In the offseason, Blauser was throwing worse than he ever had, and had no idea why.
“I can’t explain it, I lost 10 miles per hour on my fastball, I had it and it was gone.”
A frustrated Blauser continued to throw because of his initial goal of contributing to QU. However, that couldn’t become a reality due to a lack of consistency.
He regrouped and returned to QU for his junior year.
Early that fall Blauser felt pain in his shoulder and was shut down. He tried to restart in the offseason, but it didn’t work either. When 2019 began, the frustrated Blauser still wasn’t throwing.
Eventually, an MRI revealed that he had a torn labrum and would need surgery. Blauser had the operation in March.
Today the road to the QU pitching staff seems far longer than the 700 miles that separated them in the beginning. Blauser, hasn’t competed in a varsity game since his senior season at Northwest High School and will be sidelined this year due to surgery.
However, when and if Blauser returns, his future has already changed.
In the midst of his sophomore year, he met Susie Hubbard, who is from O’Fallon, Illinois, and is nursing major. And just last month, Blauser fully committed to her, in the same manner he did to baseball, and got engaged.
“Being with him isn’t a chore at all, it is home for me,” Hubbard said. “God brought us together, to think he had so many other closer and nicer options being from Texas, I just thank God that he put us together at the right place and the right time.”
Blauser’s journey has been far from predictable, and he said he has to be ready for anything.
“It only makes you stronger. Failure is not real, you always gain something,” Blauser said.