Q&A with Rockhurst commit C/2B Nic Mertes (Blue Springs South, 2015)

Shon Plack
Missouri Scouting Director

Nic Mertes (Blue Springs South, 2015) has committed to Rockhurst University in Kansas City, Missouri.  Mertes a 5-foot-10 180-pound left-handed hitting catcher, a member of the Missouri Class 5 third place team. He also attended the PBR Unsigned Senior Showcase in November.  At the plate, athletic set up, no wasted movement in load, smooth, fast bat speed with level path, strong lower half, works inside the ball with middle-oppo approach, pull power, posted one of the top exit velos of the event at 85 mph, runs a 4.66 home-to-first and 7.91 60.  As a catcher, fluid footwork, clean exchange, accurate throws at 75 mph, pop times between 1.97 and 2.10, On the infield, high three-quarters release, fluid footwork, clean transfer, plays through the ball, mostly accurate throws at 78 mph.

Last season, Mertes was the starting catcher for Blue Springs South, who finished 24-12.  Mertes batted .380 with 14 RBI in 31 games.  Mertes and Jaguars are preparing for another run at the Missouri Class 5 state championship in 2015. 

Here is a look into the recruiting process for Nic Mertes.

PBR: What were your expectations about the recruiting process? Was it as expected? Easy/Difficult?

Mertes: I really had no expectations going into the recruiting process. I found it was difficult at first, but once I made contact with coaches and built a relationship things went smoothly.  

PBR: Did location or distance from home play a factor in your decision?

Mertes: Location wasn’t a big factor for me. My main concern was to find a program that fit academically and athletically.

PBR: Where did Rockhurst first see you? How did your relationship develop with them?

Mertes: I’m not certain when Rockhurst first saw me, however I know they attended several of my high school games and Legion games during the summer. I made contact with the coaching staff and visited campus in December. I clicked with Coach Burns and Coach Nelson, and I liked what Rockhurst had to offer me academically.

PBR: Who is the best player you have faced in your state, and why?

Mertes: It would be difficult for me to pick one player. It seems like we face great players every week. My high school plays an aggressive schedule and we play very good players throughout the season. 

PBR: What were you looking for out of a college program to continue your baseball career at?

Mertes: I was looking for a program where I could contribute early and help the team contend for conference championships.   

PBR: What advice would you give to young baseball players striving to get where you are?

Mertes: Work hard, play hard…you never know who may be watching!

PBR: What do you do in the offseason to keep yourself in baseball shape and prepare for the upcoming season?

Mertes: I attend Combat Fitness (fighter training) classes at a Gautreaux’s Martial Arts Center in Blue Springs, lift weights, and run. I also hit multiple times a week at Players Paradise, and I play long toss and catch when the weather allows. Whenever possible, I catch bullpen sessions to stay sharp behind the plate.  

PBR: What is the most memorable moment in your baseball career to this point?

Mertes: I actually have a couple, both of which occurred last season. I caught 3 no hitters last year, one thrown by Austin Simms and the other two thrown by Reece Eddins, and finishing 3rd in the Missouri Class 5 State Tournament.

PBR: What do you like most about Rockhurst and what were the key factors in making your decision?

Mertes: I really liked the coaching staff and campus, and being close to home will be a bonus. Academically this is a great fit for me as I was planning to attend Grad School at Rockhurst.       

PBR: What other schools were on your short list before you made your final decision?

Mertes: Midland University, Northwest Missouri State, and Emporia State were all on my short list. 

PBR: When did the recruiting process really start to heat up for you? Was there a particular game or event that you feel turned the corner for you?

Mertes: I’d say that this fall was when the process began to take shape for me. I attended several college camps and showcases, including the PBR Unsigned Senior showcase. I then narrowed my search and visited several schools.     

PBR: Preview your high school season for us. How do you feel your team will be? What are your expectations and goals?

Mertes: This year we are looking to build on the success we had last season. Our team will have several returners, including Conner Davis, Ethan Frazier, Colton Larkins, and Nate Pecota. We play a tough schedule in preparation for the end of the season sectional and district tournaments. We will work hard, and hopefully get back to the state final four this season. 

PBR: Where do you play in the summer? And what has been your most memorable experience with them?

Mertes: I play Legion Baseball for Post 499/Fike out of Blue Springs. My most memorable experience from an individual stand point came last summer in Fargo, ND. In an extra inning game down by 4 runs, I hit a Grand Slam to tie the game. From a team perspective, my most memorable experience so far has been last year’s team. We had great team chemistry and had a lot of fun.

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