Baseball awards still rolling in for Merrill?s Alex Cordova
The MHS baseball program has produced numerous top-flight players over the years, but a recent grad has broken new ground for post-season accolades.
Merrill’s Alex Cordova-a previous First Team All-State pick for his solid work at shortstop to go with a .500 batting average and .789 slugging %-recently learned he has made the 2012 ABCA Rawlings High School All-Region 5 team in All-American voting.
“That’s really cool, actually,” Alex said. “I’m honored to be brought to that level.”
MHS coach Brian Artac noted Cordova is the first pick from the Merrill program.
“When he made it I was a little surprised, because they said we never get kids from Wisconsin,” he said.
His father, Ed, added, “If you’ve seen the players that have come through Merrill over the years, that’s quite an honor. I didn’t realize they had All-American for high school. I thought it was just for college.”
Brother Adam weighed in with, “It shows how much hard work and persistence pays off. A lot has to do with coaching and being brought up the right way.”
Alex, a freshman at UW-LaCrosse, has joined his Adam on the defending WIAC champion squad. The Eagles were eliminated from the NCAA D3 Midwest Regional by UW-Whitewater, despite a 3-5 day with three RBIs and two runs from Adam.
“I like it down here,” Alex said. “The coaches are really great. The atmosphere to win is so much higher after the great year last year.
“Fall ball is over. It was more like inter-squad scrimmages, but everything is so much faster and the pitchers are so much better. I had an all right fall. I played pretty well at third (base). I’ll be playing there if I make the (starting line-up). There are no other freshmen in the infield so it’s going to be a struggle. I’m definitely going to have to work hard to play.”
Adam watched his little brother try to find a spot on the Eagles.
“He’s definitely in the mix,” Adam said. “One thing is freshmen are typically not real aggressive at the plate and are timid in the field. (Alex) came in like an upperclassman. Some of the plays he made in the field, we hadn’t seen before, especially in the hole. He has a lot of range. As long as he works hard at it, he should have quite a career here.
“He’s going to push the seniors to play well, whether he starts or not, he’s going to make us better. When he’s given his chance he’s got the potential to step in and not give it up.”
Not that it will be easy.
“The jump from high school to college is bigger than people think, even in D3,” Adam said. “The challenge in the WIAC is definitely heavy.”
Adam played center field as a sophomore, then left and right field as well as designated hitter as a junior. He made the WIAC First Team in the outfield in 2011 and earned HM at DH in 2012. MHS alum Ryan Leavitt was the WIAC First Team DH for UW-Whitewater in 2012.
“I’ve mostly played DH,” he said. “A lot is attributable to some shoulder issues that have been nagging me for 2-3 years. The DH position is a pretty tough mentality to find. It’s hard to find someone who can focus for being out there such a short time.”
The pair is relishing the chance to compete together at UW-LaCrosse.
“I think it’s really cool,” Adam said. “With our age gap, it never happened except for a couple of (Merrill) Ranger games and that doesn’t count. This will be pretty big time.”
Alex added, “I’m really excited. It would be fun to watch him from the dugout, but it would be a lot more fun to play with him, so I hope I get the opportunity.”