Elder to Thomas More Baseball

This has been a constantly flowing pipeline in recent years


Elder to Thomas More Baseball Pipeline

In recent years, there has been an obvious trend of Elder Baseball players moving on to Thomas More University to continue to play baseball and study academically. Now that I, myself, have also already decided to attend TMU next year and do the same thing, I wanted to take a closer look at this trend.  I interviewed former Elder and Thomas More Baseball player Coach Nate Brown, and current TMU player and former Elder Baseball player Kellen Sandhas ’22.

With such a glaring trend of Elder to TMU, I figured it would be best to talk to an alumnus of both for some more information. Coach Brown told me that he played for Thomas More University during the 2008-2009 season while TMU was at the Division Three level. While there he played catcher, first base, and some outfield. “And yes, I really did play all three,” says Coach.

Coach Brown pictured as a senior playing ball for Elder

First off, I asked Coach Brown why he thinks that there’s such a strong trend of guys playing ball at Elder then continuing on to TMU.

He replied, “Well I know that the current Assistant Athletic Director there now, Jeff Hetzer, was the former baseball coach at TMU, and he was an Elder guy. There are also a lot of other Elder guys in the administration. But honestly, I just think those guys appreciate the way we go about our business here. There’s a certain toughness to Elder and GCL guys that other places just don’t always consistently produce.”

This was the exact answer I was looking for. With the built-up reputation of Elder and GCL members, it makes the transition as easy as it can get for the coaching staff.

As I already mentioned, Thomas More was a member of Division Three of the NCAA when Coach Brown played. However, since then they have moved over to NAIA, and they now are in the process of moving up to NCAA Division Two.

Coach Brown seems to think that “the transition from NAIA to Division Two will draw more people to play at TMU opposed NAIA/D-Three. Back when I played there, the guys there were there because they just wanted to play ball more than anything. Cincinnati is loaded with good talent, and anyone would be silly to not recruit out of here, the GCL especially (and I guess the GMC too).”

Happy with the insight that Coach Brown was able to supply, I turned to a current TMU guy, Kellen Sandhas, for more information.

Many of you still probably freshly remember Kellen as he was a former Quill writer, a member of Spirit Committee, and a two-year varsity baseball player acting as a key role in the 2021 State-Finalist year and team captain in his senior year. He was more than happy to help me out, so I asked him a few questions about his experiences at Thomas More so far.

First thing I asked him was, does it make the transition from Elder to TMU any easier knowing some Elder/GCL guys there with you?

Kellen Sandhas posing at Thomas More Baseball media day.

Kellen answered, “Yeah, it makes it feel like home, and it’s comfortable knowing that inside or outside of baseball, these guys are always there to help with any questions or problems that we have.”

This was a relieving line to hear so that hopefully when I arrive, I receive the same experience Kellen has been able to have.

I asked Kellen one more open-ended question where I asked him what his favorite part of the baseball program so far is.

Kell replied, “My favorite part of the program is that whether we’re at baseball or not, we are always texting in the group chat or hanging out or meeting up to do something because we have a really fun team, and it’s a lot of fun hanging out with the guys at baseball or even outside of ball.”

This pipeline of Elder to Thomas More has always fascinated me, and I’m glad that I was able to have the chance to talk to Coach and Kellen to get a little bit of a better understanding. Thomas More is building up a very strong program and team, and it will be an exciting group to pay close attention to in years to come! (Especially when they add Brayden Curlis, TMU ’28)