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Published: Monday, 4/11/2005

Reimold name of the game for BG

BY JOHN WAGNER
BLADE SPORTS WRITER
BG outfielder Nolan Reimold leads the MAC in five different categories, including home runs, RBIs and runs scored. BG outfielder Nolan Reimold leads the MAC in five different categories, including home runs, RBIs and runs scored.
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BOWLING GREEN - To the casual fan, he's probably better known as John Reimold's younger brother.

But rest assured that professional baseball scouts know precisely about Nolan Reimold.

"I'm in my 15th year here, and we never have had more interest in a player [from pro scouts] than Nolan," said Bowling Green State University baseball coach Danny Schmitz. "We get calls from scouts every day: `Is he healthy? Will he be in the lineup today?'

"When we were in Florida this spring, [Boston GM] Theo Epstein came out and scouted one of his games."

The reason for the interest in the 6-4, 205-pound junior from Greenville, Pa., is easy to explain: Reimold is one of those "five-tool" players teams covet.

"God blessed him with a lot of ability," Schmitz said of Reimold. "He's big and strong, and he can hit for power and for average. He can run like a deer, he has a good arm, and he has turned into a good defensive player."

Credit BG closer Matt Hundley with another "save" in bringing Reimold to the Falcons.

"In summer ball I played with Matt Hundley, and he told coach Schmitz about me," Reimold said. "It seemed to be a good fit: [Matt] came here, and my brother came here.

"Once John came here and Matt came here, it wasn't a hard choice."

Reimold's freshman season was good, but not great. The outfielder finished with a .329 batting average but had only seven extra-base hits, including just one home run. So after his freshman season Reimold worked with former Baltimore Orioles catcher Chris Hoiles, adjusting both his swing and his stance.

Schmitz said the coaching staff also challenged Reimold to step up his game.

"We had just lost Kelly Hunt to graduation," Schmitz said. "Before his [Reimold's] sophomore year we challenged him to be a difference-maker. We knew he was only a sophomore, but we needed to have someone step up and replace Kelly."

Reimold was up to the challenge. He led the Falcons in 12 different hitting categories and ranked among the national leaders in batting average (.404) and RBIs (1.21 per game). He finished with 13 home runs and 57 RBIs in 47 games and was a first team selection to both the All-Mid-American Conference and All-Mideast Region squads.

He hasn't slowed his torrid hitting pace as a junior. He leads the MAC in five different categories, including home runs (12 in 28 games), RBIs (39), runs scored (33), triples (three) and walks (24).

The numbers and the athletic ability are a combination that has drawn the attention of scouts in the same way flowers attract bees.

"I'm trying to focus on our season here, but sometimes it's hard," he said. "You see a bunch of scouts in the stands, and you try to impress them. I'm trying to ignore everything else and focus on the game at hand."

Schmitz said Reimold's teammates should thank the junior for bringing scouts to BG games.

"When I was playing at Eastern Michigan, we had two really good pitchers in Bob Owchinko and Bob Welch," Schmitz said. "When the scouts came out to see those guys, they also saw me and my teammates. Those two guys were a big reason I was drafted [in the 20th round by the New York Yankees in 1977]."

Schmitz also benefits, since Reimold has a positive influence on the way the Falcons play.

"Nolan plays the game hard, and that's contagious," Schmitz said.

That combination of talent and hard work may make Nolan Reimold a household name to baseball fans in a few years. For now the fact that his basketball-playing brother is better known isn't a problem.

"I've seen it so much I think my name comes with parentheses - Nolan Reimold, brother of John Reimold," he said. "But my season follows his. It doesn't bother me."

Contact John Wagner at: jwagner@theblade.com or 419-724-6481.



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