Nate Goranson played baseball since the moment he could pick up a bat and glove, quickly developing a strong passion for the sport.
The Millville High School rising senior recently earned the opportunity to display it at the collegiate level.
Goranson, a standout catcher for the Thunderbolts, verbally committed July 31 to continue his athletic and academic career at The College of William & Mary, an NCAA Division I program in Williamsburg, Virginia.
Goranson, who received a partial athletic scholarship, will sign a National Letter of Intent after the official signing period begins Nov. 1.
“It’s a dream come true,” said Goranson, 17, of Millville. “That has always been the goal. Now that I have reached that goal, there is a lot of stress off me. Now I just need to keep working hard to be a starter at William & Mary.”
This past season, the Tribe finished 33-22 (12-11 Colonial Athletic Association), the fifth time in the last seven seasons the team surpassed 30-plus victories.
William & Mary also advanced to the CAA semifinals. It was the fifth time the team qualified for the CAA Tournament under sixth-year head coach Brian Murphy.
The Tribe won the conference title in 2016.
“Once I got there, my first impression was just how beautiful the school and the architecture was,” Goranson said. “After interacting with the coach, I just didn’t want to leave.”
Millville assistant coach Ken Williams, who is familiar with the William & Mary baseball program because his father played for the Tribe, gave Goranson advice during the decision-making process.
Goranson, who was a second-team Press All-Star in the spring, batted .380 with 10 RBIs and five doubles. He also plays goaltender for the Thunderbolts’ soccer team.
“Nate is one of those guys that is so dedicated to getting better each day,” Millville coach Roy Hallenbeck said. “There is something different about him that sets him apart from other players that always work hard.”
Hallenbeck said Goranson could make a great coach someday because of the catcher’s ability to analyze the game.
“He asks a lot of questions,” Hallenbeck said, “and is always trying to figure out different ways of thinking to make himself better.”
Hallenbeck said that as a coach it is great to see players make the decision to continue their athletic careers and education.
“I think it’s certainly a nice fit,” he said of Goranson’s commitment. “We are all excited for him, and it’s going to be a great opportunity.”
Goranson is excited to start his career at William & Mary, but he is not thinking too far ahead. He wants to have a successful senior season next spring.
“From the second I arrive to the second I graduate, I just want to work hard and have a strong work ethic in weight room and the field.” Goranson said. “I want to prove that William and Mary recruited the right kid.”