Showcase : : Story
Saturday, February 20, 2010

Wallace, Heim glad they came to Showcase

Jim Ecker        

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa – Clay Wallace flew from Indianapolis to Cedar Rapids so he could pitch for 20 minutes at the 2010 Pitcher/Catcher Indoor Showcase at Perfect Game USA on Saturday morning. As far as he’s concerned, it was time and money well spent.

“For me, ever since I started in baseball, Perfect Game has been a big deal,” said Wallace, who is from Zionsville, Ind. “I like the Perfect Game events; they’re all run well. And I came up here knowing there would be some guys (pro scouts) up here watching. It’s another good thing to do before the season, because this is a big year.”

Wallace is a 6-foot, 195-pound right-hander with a lively fastball and tight, sharp breaking ball. He’s ranked No.254 in the Class of 2010 by Perfect Game and has committed to Central Arizona Junior College, but he wants to play pro ball. That’s why he was in Cedar Rapids Saturday, so he could perform in front of the scouts and try to improve his stock for the draft this June.

“Hopefully I’ll get drafted and need to go,” he said. “And if not, I’m ready to go to Central Arizona and do whatever it takes to get it the next year.”

Danny Heim, a right-handed pitcher and third baseman from St. Louis, drove to Cedar Rapids on Friday with his family to perform in the Showcase. For him, the decision was easy. He wanted to participate in another Perfect Game event, and this time it happened to be at PG’s headquarters in Iowa.

“This place has a reputation,” he said. “Jacob Turner from St. Louis came up here and went to the Metrodome (for the 2008 National Showcase). That’s something that I would like to do. I would like to be a big-time pitcher like him.”

Turner, from St. Charles, Mo., was selected in the first round of the 2009 draft by the Detroit Tigers and signed a contract that guarantees him at least $5.5 million. That’s enough motivation for anyone.

“I think I did pretty well,” said Heim, who is ranked No.246 in the Class of 2011. “I hit the spots that I wanted to. My specialty is the outside corner. And the fastball inside is also one of my specialties.”

Heim threw his fastball in the high 80s and touched 90. He showed a nice breaking ball, something he didn’t start throwing until two years ago. He confessed to being a little nervous at first Saturday in front of the pro scouts and college coaches, but quickly settled down.

“I’m actually kind of getting used to it,” he said. “I play for the Rawlings Prospects (in summer ball), so I get used to that (the scouts). I always get nervous, but when I get up on the mound everything calms down and I’m focused on the catcher.”

Heim thought he helped himself on Saturday. So did Wallace.

“I think I did pretty well,” said Wallace. “I’ve been working during the off-season on some of my off-speed stuff, and I showed a lot of that today rather than my fastball. And the fastball was there when I needed it. It felt good.”

Wallace threw in the high 80s and also touched 90. All of the pitchers threw to live hitters in the Showcase, and his breaking ball looked nasty at times. “I’ve been working on it,” he said.

Wallace was glad he made the trip from Indianapolis. “I came to this event two years ago,” he said. “It was good then, and it was good again. We’re flying back today, before the storm.”

The Showcase continues Sunday at Perfect Game headquarters.

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