For sophomore Nathan Ford, there is no off-season. While the football season ended on Nov. 18, with a 28-27 victory for Cornell, it was merely a chance for Ford to turn his attention to baseball. The starting quarterback for the football team, Ford is also a key offensive threat for the baseball team.
After compiling an impressive sophomore campaign for the football team in which he threw for 1,417 yards and eight touchdowns while running for 345 yards and a team-high six touchdowns on the ground, Ford’s attention is now focused squarely on baseball.
[img_assist|nid=22332|title=Two times the fun.|desc=Sophomore Nathan Ford is an offensive threat for two Red teams. Ford plays quarterback for football and bats clean-up for the baseball team.|link=node|align=left|width=100|height=69]
Ford has started each game for the Red (6-10) this season and has seen time at both third base and catcher.
However, Ford’s biggest contribution to the squad has been with his bat.
“[Ford] is a bat that we want in a lineup, so he’s been splitting time at catcher and third base,” said assistant coach Scott Marsh. “He is a steady competitor that everyone likes to have on their team and in their lineup. He’s not rattled by pressure, and if a pressure situation arises, he will get in there and always give a great effort. He is very reliable at driving in runs with runners in scoring position. He’s just one of those solid players that every team needs.”
With over a third of the baseball season in the books, Ford has already proven to be a reliable performer at the plate. He is currently batting .300 with a .353 on base percentage, and his 11 RBI’s are tied for second on the team. Head coach Tom Ford (no relation) has used the Palo Alto, Calif., native in the cleanup position, and the team thinks that Ford can develop into a legitimate power hitter.
“In the future, we think he can put up more power numbers,” Marsh said. “Without a doubt, were looking for him to improve, we thinks he has what it takes to knock a few over.”
While Ford has just 1 home run so far this season, he has 4 doubles and a solid .417 slugging percentage.
The Red coaching staff hopes that the football strength will translate to increased power at the plate, but in the meantime, the quarterback mentality has had positive effects on the mental aspect of his baseball game as well.
“It’s all part of his on-field persona. He’s the quarterback, the guy that other guys on the football team look to be a leader,” Marsh said. “From a baseball perspective, he’s just very steady and when the pressure is on, he wants the ball to be hit to him or to be at the plate batting because he thrives in those types of situations. He’s not the flashiest or most vocal guy, but you can always count on him to be there and give it his all.”
Ford is no stranger to finding success in multiple sports.
In high school, Ford was a star on both the football and baseball fields, earning All-Santa Clara Valley Athletic League first-team honors twice for baseball while being named his league’s Outstanding Offensive Player as a senior for football, among numerous other accolades.
“It was definitely a lot of fun but also a lot of hard work,” Ford said. “I also played basketball, which was my weakest sport. We went to state finals, but if I needed an ego check that was it. You just have to work hard, but it’s a lot of fun too.”
All the sports can certainly add up, and Ford’s schedule can definitely be busy at times. Between practices for two teams, games and class work, managing his time effectively is critical.
“The biggest thing is trying not to waste time, because you don’t have a lot of it,” Ford said. “Whenever you’re awake you should be doing something productive, something that’s either helping your sports or academics. Time management is big and I’ve had my share of long days.”
A true team-player with a selfless attitude, Ford is content to play either third base or catcher, as long as he can help out the team.
“I just want to contribute to the team as much as possible and do whatever they need me to do,” Ford said. “Whether its catching, playing third or wherever I am in the lineup, I just want do my job and help out the team.”