Mason County graduate Nick Nelson is headed from one Queen City to another.
Nelson, a standout on the baseball diamond for the Royals, recently announced he’d be transferring from Xavier University in Cincinnati to Queens University of Charlotte.
“The things that led up to this decision weren’t necessarily that it was the right fit athletically, loved the guys and the camaraderie with the team, but the growth and development didn’t seem ideal for me,” Nelson said. “I had a discussion with the coaches and we seemed to be on the same terms with it.”
Mason County grad Nick Nelson (center) recently decided to transfer from Xavier University to Queens University of Charlotte to continue his baseball and academic career. Nelson is with his new coaches, head coach Jack McDowell (right) and assistant Andrew Knight (left).
Nelson redshirted with the Musketeers his freshman year. After weighing his options, Nelson felt Queens was the best fit, playing as a Royal once again.
“The school is in a great area of Charlotte where there are a lot of business opportunities. They have a strong academic program, similar to Xavier,” Nelson said.
Baseball at Queens is a Division II program that just finished their first season, going 21-11 and are managed by former Chicago White Sox all-star pitcher Jack McDowell. McDowell, a three-time All-Star and 1993 Cy Young award winner, made Nelson’s decision even easier.
“I knew he was a great mentor with pitchers. During a bullpen session when I threw for him, I Felt like I was with my pitching coach I’ve had for years. Their coaching staff seems like a much better fit for me and I met some of the guys and felt like this is a great opportunity for me athletically and academically,” Nelson said.
After testing out the pre-med field academically, Nelson is now undecided in terms of a major, but leaning more towards a finance major, citing how tough it was to balance both the school work and baseball in the medical field.
Maybe he won’t be able to perform surgery down the road, but the former All-State team member at Mason County can still perform surgery out on the mound for the Queens Royals. With the year off competitively, his arm has stayed fresh as he still worked on his arsenal of pitches. Nelson features five pitches, including a four and two-seam fastball to go with a cutter, curve and change-up.
Not seeing game action his freshman year, Nelson was still able to stay sharp, pitching in scrimmages, bullpen sessions and intrasquad scrimmages.
“There wasn’t a time when I wasn’t throwing. Having the time off in games hasn’t changed my approach. I still like to attack guys with everything I have. I feel like I’ve gotten stronger while at Xavier, topping out at 90 (miles per hour) this summer,” Nelson said. “In college you have to learn you’re not the big fish in a small pond. A lot of guys are very similar to you, you have to be ready to work and show your potential and prove you’re the guy they need out there.”
Nelson’s been able to see some live action on the mound this summer, pitching with the Midland Redhawks, an 18-and-under travel ball team in Cincinnati. He’ll wrap up the season near the end of July and Nelson will have a month of down time before he heads to Charlotte to start fall classes towards the end of August.
He’s taken the transfer process in stride, not an easy decision for an 18-year-old kid moving from Division I to II and to a completely different state, hours away from his hometown.
“You just have to stick to the process and never have a doubt in your mind to succeed,” Nelson said. “Always go in with a plan and never falter from that. You have to take it upon yourself, breed yourself through your success, people will help along the way, but ultimately it’s up to you and what you want to do with it.”