Dordt College News

Raising The Bar- A Story of Perseverance

March 28, 2014

This article originally appeared in the March 28 Dordt DiamondRead more Diamond stories at The Diamond

By: Sam Ekstrom, Dordt College Sports Information Student Assistant

Junior Nate Forseth has a prominent name around Dordt’s campus. After all, his father, Eric Forseth, was hired as the new provost last May.

What’s not to be overlooked is that the younger Forseth has a remarkable story of his own.

Nate Forseth is the newest first baseman, clean-up hitter and starting pitcher on the Defenders’ baseball team. The 20-year-old transferred to Dordt from Division II Northwest Nazarene University (Idaho) when his father accepted the job as Dorst’s provost.

But Forseth’s journey to play college baseball is what sets him apart.

In high school, Forseth dealt with a condition that threatened his entire playing career: pectus excavatum.

“I would get out of breath when I wouldn’t even be doing anything,” said Forseth. “I couldn’t breathe while just sitting around, and if I would play athletics, it got even worse.”

Forseth’s sternum and backbone were growing too closely together, restricting the growth and function of his heart and lungs. As a high school sophomore, Forseth underwent major surgery to get a curved bar inserted into his chest that would correct the condition.

It took one month for Forseth to start walking again following the operation and three months to resume playing. While sidelined, Forseth had to sit back and watch his Nampa Christian High School baseball team win a state championship.

Forseth’s inactivity also caused his weight to drop. Forseth – currently 6-foot-7 and 205 pounds – weighed in at 150 pounds after surgery.

“That was by far the most painful thing I’ve ever been through,” said Forseth.

Then the hard work began. Forseth played his final two years of high school baseball with a bar firmly planted inside his torso. He worked hard with his coaches to reinvent himself as a pitcher.

“A lot of people worked with me to get back to some semblance of a normal throwing motion,” Forseth said. “[It took] a lot of hard work; a lot of support from friends and family and coaches.”

Forseth’s biggest asset is his height. The former high school basketball player towers over hitters as he stands on the mound and has a much higher release point than the average pitcher.

Couple that with some sneaky finesse and you can understand why Forseth had a 1.50 ERA during his sophomore season at Northwest Nazarene.

“I try to rely a lot on deception,” said Forseth. “A lot of off-speed pitches, keeping guys off balance, throwing strikes, getting ahead in counts; really simple things that are important.”

Now a Dordt Defender, Forseth has the opportunity to be in the every-day line-up as a position player when he is not toeing the mound. It’s a role that he enjoys.

“I like being able to interact with the guys more at first base,” said Forseth. “Being a position player, I’m in the lineup more often; more of an impact player.”

During a March 10 game in Tucson, Ariz., Forseth suffered a pulled hamstring that forced him to miss time. Head coach Jeff Schouten reports that Forseth expects to be back for the March 28 conference opener.

Schouten says the team is excited to have Forseth back.

“His versatility is a great asset for us,” said Schouten. “He has been a great addition.  He fits in well with the team and will help us on the field.”

As for Forseth, he says his current ailment pales in comparison to what he dealt with in high school.

“At the end of the day, it’s not that big a deal,” said Forseth. “You can still work hard and still come back from it.”

“[My high school experience] put a lot of things in perspective,” Forseth continued. “You realize that the world doesn’t revolve around baseball. It doesn’t revolve around academics. It revolves around relationships with people, with friends, with family.”

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