Showcase : : Story
Monday, August 30, 2010

McLagan, Brown enjoy Midwest Showcase

Jim Ecker        

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa – Raymond McLagan cannot play baseball for his high school in Columbia, Mo., but it’s not because he did anything wrong.

“We don’t have a high school team,” he explained while in Cedar Rapids for the Perfect Game Midwest Top Showcase. “We’re too small.”

How small?

“About 100 in the high school,” he said. “I’ve got 12 in my class.”

McLagan, a senior, attends the Christian Fellowship school in Columbia. “I really love it,” he said.

He played travel ball for the St. Louis Sting this year, playing in tournaments in St. Louis, Memphis, Arkansas and Indiana. And he traveled north to Iowa this past weekend to compete in the Midwest Showcase with other top players from the region.

“It’s pretty cool,” he said. “I really like the games. It’s a good atmosphere. The players are fun, and you get to play the game you love.”

McLagan, a 6-foot, 200-pound catcher, socked two long doubles on Saturday at Veterans Memorial Stadium and ripped another two-bagger on Sunday at Kirkwood Commuity College. He went 3-for-5 with three doubles in two games, making him one of the top hitters in the showcase.

McLagan’s older brother, Jason, is a first baseman at the University of Missouri. Jason is two years older,  but when Raymond was 14 he began playing on his older brother’s travel team. That helped him develop as a player.

“I just followed in his footsteps, I guess,” he said.

The University of Missouri is located in Columbia, where the McLagan family resides, but Raymond isn’t sure where he’ll attend college next year.

“I’m really just trying to find a school right now,” he said. “I’m pretty open to any options. I’d like to go Division I.”

MITCHELL BROWN, a pitcher/outfielder/shortstop from Rochester, Minn., is just starting his junior year in high school, but he topped all the other hurlers in the Midwest Showcase by hitting 89 mph on the radar gun.

“That’s pretty good,” he said Saturday. “My previous best was 88, so that’s the best I’ve had so far.”

 Brown struck out six batters in three innings. He allowed three singles and got the other three outs on ground balls.

“I think I did pretty well,” he said. “I struggled with my command a little bit, but as the game went on I started finding my stuff and things started falling into place.”

Brown participated in the Midwest Showcase last year and came back for more. So did his parents, Jeff and Mary Brown, both of whom work at the famed Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., Jeff as a computer technician and Mary as a project manager.

Brown said he enjoyed the showcase again.

“Just playing in front of all these people, it’s a really good experience,” he said. “You learn a lot and you learn how to cope with pressure and still do the ordinary things. Perfect Game is definitely the best showcase I’ve been to.”

Brown said Maryland, San Diego, USC and Virginia have expressed interest, based on communications between those schools and his high school coach. He’s just a junior, so there’s time.

“Every year I try to improve a little bit, and I think I’ve done that this year,” he said.

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