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JCC's Rasche inks with Minnesota West baseball program

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WORTHINGTON -- The Minnesota West Community and Technical College baseball program received a big boost Wednesday, as Jackson County Central left-hander Ryan Rasche signed a national letter of intent to join the Bluejays this fall.

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Rasche, who has been one of the Huskies' top pitchers the last three seasons, is excited about joining the program and looks forward to making an immediate impact.

"This is a program where I can break into the lineup right away," Rasche said. "The program is heading in the right direction, and I hope to come in and make an impact -- help out the best I can."

Rasche's tenure with the Huskies, and his amateur baseball experience with the Jackson Bulls the last two years, has helped prepare the senior for the daunting task of adjusting to the speed of the college game.

"We have a tough Southwest Conference in high school, and we play a tough schedule," Rasche said. "In amateur ball, you face some real hitters compared to the high school players you compete against during the school year. You have to learn to locate pitches more because you can't overpower them. That experience should help me when I begin playing for the Bluejays.

"Ty (Wacker) really stresses the fundamentals at Jackson," Rasche added. "He tries to help you keep things basic, but pushes you to perform your best each time out."

While JCC head coach Tyrone Wacker will be saying farewell to a gifted athlete, Minnesota West head coach Jeremy Irlbeck couldn't be more thrilled that Rasche has inked with the Bluejays.

"Signing a ball player like Ryan is great because it gives us instant credibility, recruiting wise in this area," Irlbeck said. "Ryan is a name. People don't know who I am at all, but they know who Ryan Rasche is, and when Ryan Rasche commits to a program, it says something. He can come in and be an impact player, not only next spring, but right now in recruiting. I can get on the phone tonight and say, 'Hey I signed Ryan Rasche,' and that perks people's ears up.

"Signing Ryan will definitely help us recruit more area players," Irlbeck added. "And if that's where I have to make a living, by making a pipeline through Jackson and Adrian, the I-90 corridor, then so be it, because we have many talented players in the area. That's the big thing I'm trying to do here, make a push to get some of these local kids that keep getting away."

That is a lot for a young man to live up to, but if Rasche's numbers hold up, the 2009 season could be one for the Minnesota West annals.

Not only has Rasche posted a winning record of 15-8 on the hill for the Huskies, he has picked up the save in eight other contests. Rasche also brings a solid bat to the plate, hitting .308 over three seasons with the Huskies.

While Rasche will be expected to charge out to the diamond with great zeal, he is expecting to receive a top-notch education at Minnesota West -- something the college is surely looking forward to.

"I'm looking to get into the accounting program at Minnesota West," Rasche said. "I should be able to get a good start there, and hopefully, go on to a four-year school and complete my bachelor's degree.

"Athletically, the Minnesota West baseball program should help prepare me for a four-year program," Rasche added. "Coming in and playing right away for two years will help me improve my game, and hopefully, help get me into a program where I can play baseball too."

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