Archive for Thursday, August 10, 2006

Mohan makes jump to college baseball

August 10, 2006

Cody Mohan didn't intend to drag out the process of choosing a college, but when it came to deciding his academic and athletic future, the 2006 Lansing High graduate wanted to make sure he made the right choice.

That's why it took him so long to settle on Maple Woods Community College in Kansas City, Mo.

"I just kept my options open as long as possible so I could find what was the best fit," he said. "I felt like Maple Woods was where I could go, not redshirt, be able to get an education and hopefully move on to play Division I baseball."

Few junior colleges in the Midwest have prepared players for Division I baseball as well as Maple Woods during the past 10 years.

In the past decade, 2002 was the only year Maple Woods coach Marty Kilgore didn't have four or more players either sign with a Division I school or be selected in the Major League Baseball draft. Recent Maple Woods graduate Jake Blackwood was selected in the 16th round of the draft this season. Another former Maple Woods star, St. Louis Cardinals first-baseman Albert Pujols, is the reigning National League Most Valuable Player and is among the most feared sluggers in professional baseball.

"Our fitness trainer is Pujols' actual trainer, so you know you're going to get bigger and stronger by doing it the right way," Mohan said.

LHS coach Troy Andrews said Maple Woods was a good fit for Mohan.

"It's a program that does have a future for him," Andrews said. "He's looking to play Division I baseball. He's not physically there yet, but he's putting himself in a situation where he can get better. They've got a lot of tradition there, and they've got a coach there that obviously has put kids at the Division I level, has connections and can get him to that level."

Mohan likely will play third base or shortstop at Maple Woods. He also brings a steady bat to the lineup. He hit over .500 as a senior and set a LHS school record with 37 hits this past spring while helping the Lions to a Class 5A state tournament berth.

Mohan doesn't hide the fact that his dream is to one day be selected in the Major League Baseball draft and play professional baseball, but he said college comes first.

"It's everybody's dream to get drafted, but I do want to go to school," he said. "I'll sign to a school before I'd sign a professional contract. I really want to play Division I baseball, and then move on if I can."

The big leagues and Division I are goals, but Mohan knows he will have to produce at Maple Woods first if he wants to achieve his other baseball related goals. Mohan said he is willing to put in the necessary work to make his dreams a reality.

"(Kilgore) told me, 'Get bigger, stronger and faster, and you'll play Division I baseball and I'll get you drafted,'" Mohan said. "He said, 'If you work your butt off for me, I'll work my butt off for you and we'll get you where you want to go.' That showed me how committed he is to his players, and I like that. I know if I go in and work hard and I better myself, polish my strengths and turn my weaknesses into strengths, hopefully I'll be able to move on.

"It's not a laid back program. It's a hard-working program, and I like that."

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