Grandpa Larry was smiling down today on his grandson.
McPherson High senior Alex Ruxlow picked Friday to sign his McPherson College baseball letter of intent in honor of his late grandfather, Larry Ruxlow, whose birthday would have been today.
Ruxlow signed his letter during a ceremony in the MHS Library, which was attended by numerous family members and classmates.
"It's a small college and (Mac) coach (Andrew) Ehling is a great coach and he's going to turn that program around," said Ruxlow, who earned first-team AVCTL pitching honors last year. "I'm expecting great things. It just seems like a great fit. Coach Ehling has that will to win and a great attitude and I'm looking forward to playing for him."
The towering lefty seemingly has a rubber arm as he toiled more than 100 innings last year for the Bullpups and the McPherson Senior American Legion.
For MHS, Ruxlow pitched 55 innings, striking out 45. He was 4-4 and converted all three of his save opportunities as he was used both as a starter and closer. He walked only 19 and crafted a nifty 2.94 ERA.
This past summer for the American Legion team, Ruxlow was 4-2 with 43 more strikeouts in 55 innings and a 4.02 ERA.
Ruxlow, who has been on a lot of schools' wish lists, said he was relieved to make the decision so he can just go out and pitch without a lot of distractions. The Bullpups will be a young, but talented, team this year and he's going to have to be a leader.
"It takes a little pressure off of me," Ruxlow said. "It's a bit of a relief. My big goal this year is All-State, but my other big goal is to make state. Those young guys on our team are great and they came up big last year. I couldn't ask for better guys to play with and be around. The guys come out to play every day and have a great attitude."
Ehling begins his third year as Mac coach and the Bulldogs improved by light-years over their first season. He brightens up when talking about Ruxlow and the versatility he brings to the table.
"Alex is a fantastic kid, (and comes from a) fantastic family," Ehling said. "He's been on our radar really since I've been at McPherson. For him to come to McPherson, sign with McPherson, is a big deal for us. We couldn't be happier to have him come."
Ruxlow has the ideal physical makeup to pitch at the collegiate level.
"He's a big, tall, left-handed pitcher and who doesn't want one of those?" Ehling said. "His role could be a variety of things and obviously how he fits into our program will be defined through the fall of his freshman year. He's capable of doing some big things for us. The arm works well, the body is well, his body is resilient. So his recovery time (between appearances) is going to be short and hopefully it stays that way."
“Alex is a big, strong left-handed pitcher that has improved a lot over the past two years,” former MHS and American Legion coach Craig Marshall said. “He has worked hard academically and athletically to make himself a college student-athlete. I think Alex can be an excellent KCAC, NAIA pitcher if he works hard on his strength, conditioning and the mechanics of pitching. He has a bright future in the McPherson College baseball program.”
Ruxlow, the son of Mary and Bob Ruxlow, will major in business.