Shawnee State University recently landed a new right-handed pitcher in incoming freshman Cody Rawlins. The senior at Ironton High School has made it official, he will be a Bear, as he will continue his academic and athletic career at Shawnee.
The story of Rawlins and Shawnee began last summer, when Rawlins attended a Shawnee baseball camp. His performance at the camp instantly created a buzz for the talented hurler. The coaching staff for the Bears knew there was something special about Rawlins as they continued to watch him throughout camp.
“It’s rare that we make a move to try to get a commitment from a player right out of camp without seeing him play in a game,” Shawnee head baseball coach Chris Moore said.
Several things attracted Moore to Rawlins, as he watched him during camp last summer.
“We love his athletic profile and how he projects,” Moore said.
Moore was also impressed with Rawlins’ academic record.
“He fits with what we’re trying to do,” Moore said. “Frankly, he projects himself as a mature young man who thought a lot about what he wanted to do. He has a plan moving forward.”
Adding all those positive attributes up, and Moore knew he was dealing with an impressive young man.
The 6-foot-4-inch pitcher has had an impressive career at Ironton thus far.
Last year, Rawlins finished the season with a 6-1 record. He appeared in 11 games for the Fighting Tigers, which included four starts. He had 35 innings of work, striking out 45 batters.
Rawlins gave up 15 walks and surrendered 23 hits. The then junior finished the season with a 1.00 earned run average, only allowing five earned runs.
During his sophomore season at Ironton, Rawlins appeared in three games. He earned a save, and recorded seven strike outs, while walking three. He had a total of 5.1 innings work that season.
Rawlins expects to have a dominating season this year for the Fighting Tigers.
“From last year to this year, I feel like I’ve advanced a lot,” Rawlins said. “I wasn’t too bad last year, but this year I’ll be able to dominate on the mound.”
Rawlins has been working with a weighted ball, which has helped him a lot.
“I feel once I get on Shawnee’s program I’ll definitely be able to increase my velocity, so I’m pretty excited about that,” Rawlins said.
Velocity has been a key to Rawlins throughout his career, as the young pitcher has been clocked in the lower 80’s at several baseball showcases. His highest official clocking was 83 miles per hour.
Ironton head baseball coach Larry Goodwin believes there is more potential in Rawlins.
“He has a good breaking pitch, a good change-up, and he moves the ball in and out,” Goodwin said. “He’s a pitcher. I think he has the potential to throw in the high 80’s.”
Goodwin expects Rawlins to continue to improve once he gets to Shawnee, citing the program’s effectiveness, and how beneficial Moore is to pitchers.
“Once he gets up to Shawnee State and gets in the swimming pool and starts lifting weights and doing all the stuff they do, and gets around some of their pitchers, with his work ethic, the sky is the limit for him.”
Moore said Rawlins will have to show some patience, and wait his turn, just like most freshmen, but is excited about what he can bring to Shawnee.
“With his athletic frame and the way his arm works, and his ability to throw a change-up, and the projection of increase in velocity, he projects to be a starter,” Moore said.
Once at Shawnee, Rawlins plans to major in computer engineering. Shawnee’s computer engineering program, and their baseball program were two of the main reasons he chose Shawnee. The University of Pikeville, Ohio Christian University, and Grove City College were all in the mix for Rawlins.
Cody is the son of Lena Rawlins and the late Eddie Rawlins, who died two years ago. Eddie had a great impact on Cody’s life.
“He was one of my motivations,” Rawlins said. “He had helped me out and I knew I had to step up in my family and help out.”
Jim Walker from the Ironton Tribune contributed to this report.
Reach Michael Hamilton at 740-353-3101, ext 1931, or on Twitter @MikeHamilton82.
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