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Saturday, April 16, 2011

Davis Co. 'twins' at PG Top

Jeff Dahn        
Photo: Perfect Game USA

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa – It wouldn’t be all that far off-base to call Bloomfield, Iowa, baseball buddies Calvin Mathews and Josh Martsching the closest thing there can be to twin sons of different mothers.

Mathews and Martshing, juniors at Davis County High School in Bloomfield, were born two days apart in October, 1993 (Mathews is two days older). They have been friends and teammates their entire lives, and seem to intrinsically know each other’s moves.

They have both already verbally committed to play college baseball at the University of Iowa in the spring of 2013.

“We do just about everything together,” Martsching said Saturday morning while standing next to the indoor batting cages at Perfect Game headquarters. “Whatever he does, I do, and whatever I do, he does. We’re real good friends.”

Mathews and Martsching are here this weekend to take part in the 9th Annual Perfect Game Spring Top Prospect Showcase. The entire event was scheduled to be at Perfect Game Field at Veterans Memorial Stadium, but a heavy, wet April snow and cold temperatures forced the batting practice session indoors.

The skills sessions – outfielders throw, infielders throw, first basemen throw and catchers pop time – were held at Perfect Game Field, and two evening games were played there. Two more games are scheduled for Sunday.

Mathews is a 6-2, 190-pound right-hander whose fastball touched 91 mph during in an indoor pitching session Saturday afternoon. Martsching is a 6-2, 180-pound sweet-swinging shortstop and right-handed pitcher, and the duo turned heads and came into their own as sophomores in the 2009-10 school year.

They helped Davis County to a 34-2 record and a spot in the semifinals of the 2010 Iowa Class 2A State Baseball Tournament. It was the first time a Davis County team had ever advanced to the state tourney.

“Before the season started, we kind of knew we were going to be pretty good. We had some good pitching and our hitting was pretty decent,” Mathews said.

“We knew we had a good team, but it was the first time going to the state tournament so we were all excited and the community was excited,” Martsching said. “We always talked about going to the state tournament but we never thought it might actually happen.

“This year there will be high expectations and we’re definitely looking forward to getting back there.” If the Mustangs return to the state tournament in the capital city of Des Moines this summer, you can bet Mathews and Martsching will be a big reason why.

Perfect Game has Mathews ranked the No. 200 national prospect (No. 1 in the state of Iowa) for players in the high school class of 2012. Martsching is ranked No. 500 nationally and No. 2 in the state.

Both 17-year-olds have been full-time contributors on Davis County’s varsity unit since their freshmen seasons and Mathews even played as an eighth-grader.

Mathews was 9-1 with a 0.94 ERA and 109 strikeouts in 59 1/3 innings as a freshman and improved to 15-1 with a 0.66 ERA and 176 strikeouts in 95 innings as a sophomore. He walked only six batters his freshman season and just 14 as a sophomore.

The success didn’t necessarily surprise the soft-spoken Mathews.

“My freshmen year I kind of threw pretty good so I kind of figured my sophomore year I’d throw pretty decent, as well,” he said.

Mathews swings a pretty hefty bat and plays a little third base when he’s not pitching. Last summer he hit .463 (50 for 108) with seven home runs, 43 RBIs and 41 runs scored after hitting .381 (32 for 84) with a home run and 30 RBIs as a freshman.

Martsching is also a threat from both the plate and the mound.

He hit .480 (60 for 125) with five home runs, 37 RBIs, 49 runs and 12 stolen bases offensively last season. He also finished 8-1 with a 1.61 ERA and 104 Ks in 56 2/3 innings on the mound. He hit .387 (36 for 93) and stole 13 bases offensively and went 8-0 with a 1.20 ERA from the hill as a freshman.

“I think I got more mature from my freshman year,” Martsching said of his progression. “My freshman year when I started at shortstop I was nervous most of the time, but my sophomore year I guess I just relaxed and just went out there and played.”

Mathews and Martsching both play football and basketball at Davis County, but baseball is their sport of emphasis. They are never far away from the game.

“During the winter I hit just about every day, so it’s pretty much baseball all the time,” Martsching said.

Mathews said he did a little bit of throwing over the winter and also spent a fair amount of time in the weight room.

“I’ve been feeling pretty good this spring so far,” he said.

Both players are active in the Perfect Game Iowa Spring Wood Bat League for the PG Iowa White squad, but this was their first PG showcase event.

The un-spring-like weather that greeted the Spring Top Prospect Showcase was a bit of a bummer, but they made the most of it, even if they did have to leave before playing their scheduled games because their high school prom was Saturday night.
“I’m looking forward to it. I’m looking forward to getting to hit, anyway,” Martsching said before departure. “I wish it would warm up outside a little bit, but we’ll see.”

It will warm up in Iowa eventually, and when the state’s high school summer season starts to get rolling with preseason drills next month, Mathews and Martsching will look to get Davis County back to the state tournament in what will be their third high school season with one more left to play in 2012.

“I know I just have to keep working hard, and I know me being a junior there is probably a leadership role I should probably take over,” Martsching said. “I’m just ready to get going, to get outside and start practice on May 2. That’s what I’m looking forward to.”
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