To have a successful team and program, the chemistry of the players on and off the field is a key element.

Nathan Bruns was a member of the Pacific High School baseball program who helped in that way.

A catcher during his senior season for the Indians, Bruns will continue his baseball career at Westminster College in Fulton.

Westminster, nicknamed the Blue Jays, is an NCAA Division III school that competes in the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SLIAC).

“When I visited Westminster, I was sold from the beginning,” Bruns said. “I like the atmosphere of a smaller school where everyone seems to know each other. I’m excited about going there. It seems like a great place to be.”

Bruns was presented with the opportunity to play baseball at Westminster during the high school spring season.

“I was just planning on going to Mizzou and not playing baseball until Westminster contacted me halfway through the season and told me they wanted to come watch me play,” Bruns said. “The game they came to (against Helias), I hit the first pitch in my first at-bat of the game over the left field wall for a home run.”

From there, Bruns and Westminster made the connection.

During his senior season at Pacific, Bruns had a batting average of .365 (19-52) with one home run, 20 RBIs, eight walks and seven runs.

The Indians went unbeaten in the Four Rivers Conference both seasons Bruns was on the varsity team.

Bruns proved to be one of the toughest Indians on the squad.

“Nate is the ultimate team guy. His competitiveness is awesome,” said Pacific Head Baseball Coach Jeff Reed. “In our first game of the season against Wright City, he took a pitch off the face and was only out for two weeks. He got hit again later in the year against Festus and didn’t come out of the game.”

Bruns, who also pitched and played first base for Pacific, expects to mostly play catcher at Westminster.

“I’ve only been catching since I got to high school, so I need to continue to learn the finer points,” Bruns said. “There’s always room for my catching and hitting to improve.”

Reed liked what Bruns gave the Indians.

“Overall, Nate needs to work on his arm strength, which is important for a catcher. He blocks balls well and does a good job handling pitchers,” Reed said. “Offensively, he drives balls up the middle and to the opposite field. He’s a hard worker and a smart kid.”

Bruns played for the Rawlings Tigers during the summer.

“Nate led by example. He helped younger teammates in practice and always worked hard,” Reed said. “Our seniors were a huge part of the success we’ve had. Nate was a big part of two undefeated conference championship teams.”

Nathan plans to major in English at Westminster. He is the son of Alan and Laurie Bruns.