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Saturday, August 27, 2011

Rash back in Iowa, at Midwest Top

Jeff Dahn        
Photo: Perfect Game

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa – The lanky right-hander from Adel, Iowa, had already spent quite a bit of time at various baseball venues across the country before he arrived at Perfect Game Field at Veterans Memorial Stadium Saturday afternoon.

Alec Rash, a 6-5, 190-pound hard-throwing senior at Adel ADM High School, had already performed at the 2011 Perfect Game National Showcase in June at City of Palms Park in Fort Myers, Fla., and at the 2010 PG Junior National Showcase at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla.

He also sent his junior year in high school at Pelham (Ala.) High School, which is in the Birmingham, Ala., suburbs, playing on all sorts of high school diamonds in the Birmingham area. He is back at Perfect Game Field this weekend taking part in the PG Midwest Top Prospect Showcase, which is running in conjunction with the PG Midwest Underclass Showcase.

The two-day dual event features nearly 130 prospects from the classes of 2012, ’13 and ’14, mostly from Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota, Nebraska and Missouri, and numerous points elsewhere

 It should be noted that three players who attended last year’s PG Midwest Top Prospect Showcase – Iowans Derrick Loveless, Braden Shull and Dakota Freese – were selected in June’s MLB First-Year Player Draft. Six Midwest Top alumni, including the Rays’ Jeremy Hellickson and the A’s Ryan Sweeney, have reached the major leagues.

2001 alumni Chad Billingsley and Cesar Carrillo were first round selections in the draft.

Rash, whose fastball reaches the low-90s, has been at nine Perfect Game events since 2009, including four seasons in the popular PG Spring and Fall Wood Bat Leagues. PG ranks Rash as the No. 2 top prospect in the state of Iowa in the class of 2012, trailing only Bloomfield right-hander Calvin Mathews, who is also here this weekend.

“It’s good baseball and it’s good for exposure,” the soft-spoken Rash said of his Perfect Game experiences.

He received a lot of that exposure at the 2010 Junior National and even more at this year’s PG National Showcase. While playing at City of Palms – the spring training home of the Boston Red Sox – at the National, he was teammates with Perfect Game All-Americans Clate Schmidt and Jesse Winker.

“It was fun to play at a major league kind of a place with a lot of good players,” Rash said, adding that when he was surrounded by that many other top prospects it seemed to elevate his level of play.

At the conclusion of the National Showcase, Rash received PG’s top 10.0 rating, and a scouting report noted that he has “all the pitches and should keep getting better.”

Rash left the comforts of his home in Adel, Iowa and his familiarity with ADM High School (Adel-DeSoto-Minburn) before his junior year to accompany his mother, Lora, to Pelham, Ala. – a suburb of Birmingham –  due to his mother’s job transfer.

Because it looked like his mom would be transferred again, he decided to return to Adel for his senior year in high school. The year spent in Alabama served him well.

“It was really good,” Rash said of the level of play at the high school level in Alabama. “I learned a lot.”

Rash spent this summer getting ready for baseball, football and basketball while also doing work at a farm near Adel. He played a football game Friday night – Adel ADM beat Boone, 49-13, in its season opener – then made the trip from central Iowa to Perfect Game Field in eastern Iowa for Saturday’s baseball showcase.

“It’s not that tough,” he said about maintaining his focus. “It’s just a matter of staying busy. Baseball is my sport. I just decided to keep going with football and basketball for a little while.”

Rash has verbally committed to Missouri, where he will narrow his pursuits to simply baseball.

“I wanted to play in the Big 12 and it’s close to home. I think I made the right choice,” Rash said. “I loved the coaching staff, I loved the pitching coach (Matt Hobbs) down there and they have a great campus.”


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