WEBSTER CITY - Will they or won't they?
The ADM Tigers have arguably one of the top prep pitchers in the country in senior right-hander Alec Rash - the Philadelphia Phillies seem to think so, which is why they used a second-round draft pick on the prospect during last month's Major League Baseball draft - but will they use him tonight?
Webster City's players and coaches are interested to find out.
DFJ photo by Troy Banning
Webster City catcher Doug Stoakes (left) confers with pitcher Jonny Davis during a game at Lynx Field earlier this season. They’ll make up the battery tonight when WCHS meets ADM at Saydel High School in a Class 3A district semifinal.
The Lynx (7-21) and Tigers (23-14) will meet tonight in a Class 3A District 14 semifinal at Saydel High School, located on the north side of Des Moines. The first pitch is scheduled for 5 p.m.
Rash - a 6-foot-5, 200-pound phenom with a fastball that tops out in the mid-90s - recently turned down an offer to join the Phillies' farm system, and will instead keep his commitment to play college baseball at the University of Missouri.
"We've seen videos online of the Rash kid, so we've seem him throw a little bit," WCHS head coach Seth McGrane said. "Obviously he's got an overpowering fastball, but if you make contact it's going to go a ways. So anything can happen if you make contact."
Rash enters the postseason with a 5-2 record and 0.85 earned run average. He's struck out 80 batters and allowed just five earned runs in 41 innings on the hill.
But McGrane isn't so sure his club will stare into Rash's eyes. He expects ADM to give the ball to Dylan Nelson, who isn't exactly a slouch. Nelson is 5-2 this season with a 1.85 ERA. He's fanned 60 batters.
"We told the kids either we would get the Nelson kid or the Rash kid," McGrane said. "The Nelson kid has good numbers as well, so either way we know we're going to see a good pitcher."
ADM will face a WCHS lineup this is hitting .277. Senior No. 3 hitter Jonny Davis swings the most dangerous stick; he owns a .395 average with 16 runs batted in. Dylan Fielder (.356, 21 RBIs) and Doug Stoakes (.320, 22 RBIs), are the only other Lynx hitting .300 or better.
ADM - the district's top seed - has six guys hitting over .300, led by Nelson at .381. He also leads the team in RBIs with 28.
Grant Goeden hits at a .379 clip, and Rash checks in at .364.
"It sounds like they're just a good high school baseball team," McGrane said of the Tigers. "They have six guys that have pretty good averages, and they play quite a bit of small ball."
But ADM will get the Lynx best shot, which means Davis - a senior right-hander - will be on the mound. He sports a 4-4 record and 5.04 ERA.
Davis has pitched in the biggest games throughout the season. He nearly pulled off an upset against No. 4-ranked (2A) Fort Dodge St. Edmond early in the season, and he kept the Lynx within striking distance against No. 4 (1A) Algona Bishop Garrigan earlier this month.
"I think the kids know and believe that we can play with some great teams when we have Jonny on the mound," McGrane said. "We're confident that we can play with anybody in 3A when he's out there."
Tonight's winner will face either Saydel or Nevada in the district final on Monday at 7 p.m., at Saydel High School.