Rio Grande ‘Bias-ed’ about its newest baseball recruit

Published 12:33 am Thursday, January 13, 2022

Ironton Fighting Tigers’ senior baseball standout Nate Bias signed a national letter-of-intent to play for the University of Rio Grande RedStorm on Tuesday. Attending the signing ceremony were: seated left to right, sister Breanna, father Michael, Nate, mother Stephanie and sister Miley; standing left to right, Ironton assistant coach Tim Collins, Ironton head coach Travis Wylie and Rio Grande head coach Brad Warnimont. (Photo by Tim Gearhart).

Jim Walker

They say that variety is the spice of life. And if versatility is the spice of baseball, the Rio Grande RedStorm has gotten the right ingredient for their program in Nate Bias.

Nate Bias

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The Ironton Fighting Tigers’ senior utility player and pitcher has given Rio Grande plenty of options for next season after signing a letter-of-intent on Tuesday.

Rio Grande 13-year veteran head coach and recent URG Hall of Fame inductee Brad Warnimont was happy to land the versatile Bias whom he plans to look at as a pitcher as well as a utility player.

“We think he’s a dual role player for us. We think he can do both at our level, we just need to figure out where. With two-way guys, we work with them in the bullpen arms first depending on where they are in the lineup. That’s the biggest thing is seeing where he fits,” said Warnimont.

“His breaking ball we feel is good enough right now to come out of the bullpen for us so we’re excited about that. Then we’ll see about his bat and the depth chart and take it from there.”

Ironton head coach Travis Wylie played for legendary coach Don Schaly at Marietta College and thinks Bias has the ability to hit at the next level.

“Offensively, he swings a good bat and is a gal-to-gap guy. He is a high character teammate who played a lot of catch for us which was a new position for him and he did a great job,” said Wylie.

Bias caught for Ironton last season — a position he’s never played — and played some infield including third base during his summer ball.

Bias said Rio Grande is the right place of him to develop his skills and play multiple positions.

“I love it. Utility players in college there’s so much you can do. I can do all,” said Bias.

“Rio is just a nice, small school and I thought it would be right for me. It’s big guys down there and they know what to do. The conditioning and the workouts are great. It’s a good program.”

Bias said he is willing to play wherever he’s needed, but if he had a choice it would be third base.

“I just like being the main guy,” said Bias “When you’re at the hot corner you’re going to get (the ball) or you get hurt. It’s a mindset. I like the mindset that I have to make the play. I would love to start day one. That’s my goal.”

The biggest adjustment usually comes at the plate with better, faster pitching on a daily basis as opposed to high school where you might see a hard-throwing pitcher in the 90-miles an hour range every now and then. Bias doesn’t seem too concerned.

“My summer ball I faced 90, 92 (miles an hour), so I think I’m a pretty good fit for it,” he said.

Warnimont said Bias’ playing time will hinge on his adjusting to the college level.

“Once they get adjusted to the speed of the college game, you start making those strides and the game starts slowing down for you,” said Warnimont.

Bias has been playing baseball since he was 5 years old although he also wrestled and played golf. But baseball has always been his favorite sport.

“My papaw (Randy Kelly) played and was offered a college scholarship. My whole family has played so it has alway been there,” said Bias. “I just like the competitiveness of it. All over the country there’s a lot more baseball players and I just love the competition.”

With his college future secured, Bias said he can now focus on the upcoming high school season.

“Doing this early is a big relief right now. I think we’ll have a great year and hopefully bring home another OVC championship and maybe more,” said  Bias.

Wylie said that Bias love for the game is one of the reasons he has become a success and that his high character as a player with a great work ethic has allowed him to overcome adversity just to play the game.

“Nate is a solid kid who has been through a lot of adversity in high school,” said Wylie noting Bias missed time his sophomore year because of COVID and hurt his elbow as a freshman.

“His junior year was his first high school baseball season. He’s always kept up with his teammates and worked to get back to playing, so that just tells you what type of person he is.”

Bias plans to major in business.