GREENVILLE – Greenville senior Owen Paulus committed to play baseball at Mount Vernon Nazarene University on Saturday, a college he felt God was directing him to.
“I actually wasn’t even going to visit Mount Vernon because I had two good choices,” Paulus said, “but God led me up there, and once I got there I just kind of knew that that’s where he wanted me to be and just had that feeling and had that Christ relationship through all of it.”
Paulus, the son of Kelly and Barry Paulus, immediately knew he had found the right place academically and athletically as soon as he visited the Christian liberal arts college located in Mount Vernon.
“Right when we pulled in,” he said of his visit a couple months ago. “I just kind of knew looking at the campus. Like, wow, this is really what I want in a college feeling.”
At Mount Vernon Nazarene, Paulus will study mathematics education with a minor in sports management. He hopes to become a high school math teacher and coach quarterbacks in football and pitchers in baseball.
While continuing his studies, he’ll have an opportunity to pitch for the Mount Vernon Nazarene baseball team, a National Association of Intercollegiate program that competes in the Crossroads League with Bethel College, Goshen College, Grace College, Huntington University, Indiana Wesleyan University, Marian University, Spring Arbor University, Taylor University and the University of Saint Francis.
“It’s definitely a blessing,” Paulus said. “Give all thanks to God for sure. All the coaches that have helped me through all these years. It’s definitely just been a huge blessing.”
Paulus made his college commitment following Greenville’s baseball game against Fort Recovery along with his high school teammate, Kyle Mills, who committed to the Wright State University Lake Campus baseball team.
“That’s a reason why I do this, getting to see those kids go out and sign their commitment letters,” Greenville baseball coach Eric Blumenstock said. “You know they go off and play college sports they’re going to be alright. They worked their tails off to get to that point, and it couldn’t happen to two nicer kids and two more hardworking kids. That’s just the accumulation of four years of putting in the effort in the offseason and putting the effort in in the summertime and just working on the grades.”
In Mount Vernon Nazarene, Paulus is joining a team that currently is 19-13 and 8-6 in the Crossroads League. Last year the Cougars went 33-24 overall and 14-13 in the conference.
“Their head coach has been there 28 years,” Paulus said. “It’s a great program. I know they’re going through kind of some rough spots this year, got a few guys out injury-wise and whatnot, but definitely excited to be up there with the program they have.”
At Mount Vernon Nazarene, Paulus’ goal is simply to help the team as much as he can like he has at Greenville.
Last year as a junior, Paulus pitched 30 1/3 innings for Greenville and posted a 2.54 ERA. He had 27 strikeouts and was named special mention all-American League by the Greater Western Ohio Conference.
“Owen is the hardest working kid I’ve ever had. Owen goes and works out for a couple hours before he comes to our practices and just puts in so much effort,” Blumenstock said. “Owen came in as a freshman throwing 70 miles an hour, and I don’t think I ever even thought about him being a difference maker. A couple years later he’s added 8, 9 miles an hour to his fastball and he’s up in the 80s. That’s just hard work.”
Blumenstock said he would love to have a team full of players who work as hard as Paulus.
“I’d take 15 Owens on my team that just go out there and bust their butt every day for me,” the Green Wave coach said. “And he’s taken a strong leadership role this year, and I think that’s really going to help him going into college.”
Kyle Shaner may be reached at 937-569-4316. Follow me on Twitter @KShanerAdvocate or get updates on Facebook by searching Darke County Sports or Advocate 360. For more features online go to dailyadvocate.com.