Nick Derr’s competitive spirit and strong bat is the driving force of UT Spartans

Third baseman gives credit to family and lengthy athletic background

Nick Derr takes pre-game batting practice for the Tampa Spartans. He's a spark plug for the defending D2 national champions. Abdulhamid Ibrahim

TAMPA, Fla. — Nick Derr’s competitive drive knows no exceptions, whether it be the baseball field or the classroom.

A father with an athletic background and competing over grades with a sibling can do that to someone.

“Since we were young, (he and his sister) always competed with grades—who could get a better ACT score and stuff like that,” said Derr. “It helped a long way, now it’s just engraved in my head.

“Same thing with my dad, all the things he taught me at a young age, every single year growing up, it’s just engraved in my head to just compete and win.”

Derr, a third baseman for the University of Tampa Spartans, grew up in more of a football family. His dad, Brian Derr, was an all-state linebacker in high school and his uncle played at the University of Oklahoma.

He played basketball, football, and baseball growing up, but quit the former two early in high school to focus on baseball by the advice of his dad. He credits playing multiple sports to furthering his competitive drive.

“I love to win, I hate to lose,” Derr said. “I hate losing more than I like winning. Playing those other sports and being athletic, being active and always being around teammates and team sports, you just realize what it takes to win.”

After being drafted by the Cincinnati Reds in the 33rd round of the 2016 draft, his first stop at the collegiate level at Florida State University also saw him make the 2017 ACC Academic Honour Roll list.

After two years there, he transferred to the University of Tampa and not only made SSC Commissioner’s Honour Roll, he also helped the Spartans win the national championship playing third base.

With eyes set on a second consecutive Division Two national championship, and trying to push through a team offensive slump, Spartans Manager Joe Urso said it’s on Derr to push them forward.

“He’s our team leader, he’s our best all-around player,” said Urso. “If this offence, which is struggling right now, is going to turn the corner, it’s going to be because of Nick.”

Derr is currently hitting .353 avg./.476 on base./.426 slugging with 11 runs, 24 hits on 68 at-bats, along with 8 RBI in 19 games this season.

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Posted: Mar 10 2020 10:52 pm
Filed under: Baseball College NCAA Sports