VIRGINIA -- Noah Paulseth has several assets that make him one of the top players on the Mesabi Range College baseball team.
Norse head coach Chris Vito said it was his catching skills that led to the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire recruiting Paulseth for their squad.
“They saw that I was a good defensive catcher,’’ who could make an impact right away coming in, Paulseth said in a telephone interview.
The 19-year-old, who has one semester left at Mesabi, added Concordia-Moorhead and the College of St. Scholastica in Duluth also took a look at him. He ultimately made his verbal commitment to the Blugolds Sunday night.
“I liked Eau Claire the best. I thought it was the best fit. It just felt right,’’ he told the Mesabi Tribune about the UW-EC baseball program that is just being restarted after about 25 years.
As far as Paulseth’s skills, Vito said, he has a strong arm and “he throws to the bases very well.’’
The 2019 Apple Valley graduate is also very solid at receiving the pitches, the MRC coach said. One one game against Hibbing a year ago, for example, he allowed no passed balls or wild pitches to get past him in seven innings of work. He also handles the Norsemen pitchers pretty well too.
“That comes from the hard work,’’ Vito said. “He’s always working to get better.’’
The recruitment came after playing just seven games for Mesabi as a freshman last year. The team got in the games on their annual Florida trip, but the season was halted after that due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Despite the short season, “it was the most fun seven games I’ve had in my life’’ because of the team that was assembled, Paulseth stated. “It was like one big family. It felt like we were playing for each other.’’
Even seven games of community college experience helped Paulseth get recruited.
He said most of the schools like to bring in more experienced guys, because “you can go in and make an impact right away.’’ He added he learned a lot from his older teammates last season. “They taught me what a college player should act like and look like.’’
Vito is confident Paulseth can compete for the Blugolds next year in the Division III Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.
“He’s going to be playing in a great league. I think he’ll do very well there.’’
Paulseth credited Vito for contacting all the college coaches his player wanted to consider. “He started it all and handed it over to me.’’
Getting back to Paulseth’s abilities, Vito said he’s also a good third baseman. The Mesabi skipper told Blugold’s head coach Charles Bolden not to sleep on him at the hot corner either.
Paulseth did well at the plate last season, even though it came in a limited season, Vito said. He averaged .308 on the spring trip with four hits and 1 RBI. In 13 plate appearances he struck out just one time.
“He swung a decent bat for us last season.’’
Paulseth, who plans to major in elementary education, prides himself on catching, but hitting is something that he’s been working on for a long time. He said he’s glad it’s finally coming around.
Vito is looking forward to coaching Paulseth one more season (starting in February).
Paulseth is equally excited about the season and playing for Vito and the Norse this year.
“I’m just grateful that Mesabi Range College gave me a chance to play baseball after high school.’’ He said he’ll never forget Vito and all the players and classmates he met at Mesabi. “ It’s been a great experience.’’