Pitching Pioneer

Youngsville’s Nathan Lucks earns spot with Alfred State

Photo submitted to the Times Observer Youngsville senior Nathan Lucks committed to play NCAA Division III baseball at Alfred State University next spring.

Youngsville’s Nathan Lucks is on his way to playing baseball at the next level.

And there isn’t anything lucky about it.

Lucks, about to compete in his senior baseball season for the Eagles, recently committed to playing baseball at Division III Alfred State University beginning with the 2025 season.

For Lucks, it is the fulfillment of a dream that existed as a child and ramped up considerably just under three years ago.

“I feel like I put so much hard work into this,” said Nathan. “It all started my freshman summer when I really started to take it seriously. I was making sacrifices to become the best player I could and found myself working out in my basement, outside, in the gym — even up at the farm.

Photo submitted to the Times Observer Youngsville senior Nathan Lucks will join the Alfred State University baseball team next spring.

“I put in a lot of early mornings and late nights and I didn’t let my time go to waste. Granted, I gave up most of my social life, but in the end it was all worth it.”

Lucks has excelled on the field for the Eagles and head coach Eddie Dorunda, helping lead Youngsville to the District 10 playoffs in each of the past two seasons. That includes a postseason victory a year ago.

He’s compiled a 12-4 record on the mound with a 2.96 ERA and 112 strikeouts in just 94 innings pitched.

His impact isn’t limited to the mound, however, as Lucks has a .397 batting average with 15 extra base hits, 43 RBI and 37 stolen bases over the past two seasons. As a junior, Lucks was named second team all-region as a pitcher and utility player.

Dorunda has been able to have a front row seat for much of Lucks’ growth and knows exactly what kind of player the Pioneers are getting next season.

Photo submitted to the Times Observer Youngsville senior Nathan Lucks will join the Alfred State University baseball team next spring.

“Alfred State is getting a workaholic,” said Dorunda. “No one there is going to outwork him and match his intensity. I know they’ll be very pleased once he takes the mound for them.

“What impresses me most is the drive and passion he has for baseball. He made a really big leap from his sophomore to junior year. He wants to get better every single day whether it’s hitting off the tee, lifting weights or working on his pitching mechanics. He’s not afraid to ask questions and is willing to listen to any advice coaches give him.”

While he excels on the field, it’s not simply his accomplishments in the game of baseball that bring pride to Nathan’s parents Natalie and Charlie. It’s also about the traits he has off the field as a human being that he happens to take on the field with him.

“He is very focused on his schoolwork and keeping a high GPA,” said his mother, Natalie. “He is a team leader both on and off the bench and is always helping teammates and keeping them informed as well as giving them positive encouragement. Probably what impresses us most is his sportsmanship and respect for others. We get compliments on how he is an example to younger players and embodies great sportsmanship. Even if the team is losing or things are looking rough, he always gives 100 percent.”

While quite sure in the fact he wanted to play baseball in college, the question of where wasn’t as easy. While struggling to find a college that suited him, Nathan remembered that his uncle went to Alfred State and was a catcher for the Pioneers. He applied to the school and was accepted for the electrical construction and maintenance program.

Then came the icing on the cake.

“Alfred State held an open house where I ended up talking to head coach Mike Armstrong,” said Nathan. “He said he had seen and liked the videos coach Dorunda had sent to him and he invited me to a camp where he told me I’d have an opportunity to put my name on the roster.”

Even that tryout didn’t come and go without Lucks having to show that resilience his family, coaches and teammates are all so impressed with.

“At 4:30 a.m. on January 21 (the day of the tryout), the roads and weather were terrible,” said Nathan. “I was able to get past that and from there the tryout went great. I knew I was going to have fun with it either way and I ended up pitching, hitting and fielding very well. After the tryout, coach told me he loved what he saw, and I was able to turn the walk-on spot into a roster spot. It gave me a remarkable feeling of satisfaction knowing all my hard work and dedication paid off.”

At the next level, that dedication will be used to knock down any goals Lucks sets for himself.

“He has a true dedication and desire to play baseball,” said Natalie. “Nathan has not let anything stop him from pursuing his passion and dream. Even after a long hard day’s work on the farm and being tired, he still found time and motivation to work out or practice throwing. We are so proud of how he did so much of the work on his own, not asking for help unless really needed. He is motivated and creative in finding ways to work out or practice on his own.”

While Alfred State looms on the horizon, Lucks’ career in the red and white is not finished yet. Preparation for his senior season has long since begun.

“Nathan has been a huge part in turning the program around,” said Dorunda. “His freshman year, we struggled but he and his teammates didn’t get discouraged and trusted the process. We got into playoffs his sophomore year and last year we finally started to see it all come together, winning 16 games including our first playoff win.

“Not too many kids have left the Youngsville baseball program with an overall winning record and Nathan has a very good chance of doing so. That’s something he can always look back on and be proud of. He’s been one of our biggest leaders the past couple years and I look forward to seeing what he can do in the next few years when all he has to worry about is baseball and school.”

At the end of it all, Nathan knows it was a collective effort to get him to the accomplishments he achieved thus far.

“On and off the field, my coaches — especially Eddie — have been a huge inspiration to me — always pushing me,” he said. “My friends and teammates have helped me get better by putting in a lot of offseason work in the morning before school. Off the field, my family is a huge inspiration as they did so much to help me get to this point and I didn’t want to let them down.”


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