CAMILLE LEMKE; Sports Writer;

Raw talent and a dedication to training have been two driving factors for first-year Chad Gideon’s outstanding success on the baseball field in his debut season at Pacific Lutheran University. Even though he was recruited to play at higher-level schools, Gideon has found himself right at home at PLU.

Gideon earned Northwest Conference Baseball Pitcher of the Week in February after his performance in the team’s winning series against crosstown rival  University of Puget Sound.

“I was very happy for Chad to earn Pitcher of the Week. We’ve had three student-athletes earn those honors this season for baseball. It means they’re doing well individually and that we’re doing well as a team,” said head baseball coach Nolan Soete. “When my players get recognized like that, I’m their number one fan.”

Gideon attributes earning the Pitcher of the Week honor to his dedicated off-season training.

“This off-season, my roommate, [first-year] Andrew Curran and I put in more work than either of us ever have,” said Gideon. “One day we had 3 inches of snow on the field, but we went out and worked out anyways. That’s when I realized nothing was going to stop us in the off-season. That work is showing on the field right now.”

As of Sunday, Gideon’s accolades beyond Pitcher of the Week include 24 strikeouts in 37 innings and an impressive 1.93 earned run average (ERA).

Although striking, these statistics make sense for Gideon, who was recruited by Division II programs at Central Washington University and Saint Martin’s University. He is fitting in to the strong baseball program AT PLU  and has helped the team climb to the #12 spot in the national DIII ranking.

“I was offered a full ride scholarship to Central, but PLU is the team I wanted to play for and the school I wanted to attend,” said Gideon. “It’s crazy how well everything lined up.”

Some of Gideon’s favorite teachers from his hometown of Puyallup, Wash. are PLU alumni and played a role in his commitment to PLU. Gideon was inspired by the education he received. As an aspiring history teacher himself,  he saw the value of a PLU education.

Gideon’s girlfriend of three years, first-year Millie McBride, chose to pursue an Elementary Education degree at PLU. Although both of them deny that her attendance to the school was a factor in his decision, it is a happy coincidence.

“He came to be a teacher and play baseball and I came here to be a teacher as well. He didn’t follow me here,” said McBride.

Transitioning from high school to collegiate baseball has been a rewarding process for Gideon and acknowledging the differences between the two is what sets him apart.

“In high school, I could use talent to get by, but that’s not the case anymore,” said Gideon. “If you don’t come into practice or a game with 100 percent focus, you won’t see the results you want.”

PLU’s season thus far can be described as consistently successful. Gideon’s maturity of play on the field in practice or on game day emulates that.

“When you watch him play, you can’t tell that he’s a first-year,” said Soete. “He carries himself as an upperclassmen. He’s in the starting rotation because he brings to the team a powerful arm as a polished pitcher.”

The Lutes look to continue their success and achieve their team goal of winning the Northwest Conference Championship, earn the automatic bid to the regional tournament and strive for a national title.

I think it will be fun to coach him for the rest of this season and in the years to come and watch him evolve as a student-athlete,” said Soete. “I’ve been coaching at PLU for 11 years and he is one of the better first-year arms I’ve seen. He has the opportunity to do something really special here.” ◼︎

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