Modglin, Carlyle give Rams a potent 1-2 punch

Wednesday, May 28, 2008
KIT DOYLE ~ kdoyle@semissourian.com Scott City has relied on its senior connection of Ryan Modglin on the mound and Cody Carlyle behind the plate in its 21-1 season. The Rams are seeking their first state title in baseball.

SCOTT CITY — The last two teams Scott City faced felt more comfortable walking one to face the other.

Big mistake.

The Rams' two seniors provide a powerful presence in the middle of the lineup that's repeatedly come up clutch this season.

Ryan Modglin and Cody Carlyle are a big reason why the Rams are 21-1 and will face Hallsville in a Class 2 state semifinal today in Springfield.

"Three out of four years we've been in the postseason," Scott City coach Lance Amick said. "It's a small senior class, but the magnitude of those two players is just unbelievable. Kids look up to them and respect them. They do a little bit of vocal leading, but a lot of times it's by example. They are easy guys to learn from."

Portageville and Clearwater intentionally walked Modglin late in games to pitch to Carlyle. In the eighth inning of a tied sectional game, Carlyle smashed a grand slam against Portageville. He followed up that by ripping a run-scoring single with two outs to force extra innings in the state quarterfinal against Clearwater.

If someone bothered to ask, Amick would have warned against walking Modglin to get to Carlyle.

FRED LYNCH ~ flynch@semissourian.com Ryan Modglin delivered a pitch during Scott City's sectional victory against Portageville.

"Cody is a kid that if you make him mad, he's going to focus a little bit harder," Amick said. "He's a passive kid by nature. If you upset him, he tends to focus a little bit better. I knew when both those happened, that would upset him. He takes that as a slap in the face."

When it comes to batting, Modglin and Carlyle set the standard. Modglin sports a .619 average with 10 homers and 44 RBIs. He's stolen 10 bases for good measure. Carlyle comes in with a .566 average, six homers and 31 RBIs.

"Those are just stupid averages for a season, even for a high school kid," Amick said. "We saw everyone's best pitcher a lot of the time."

The two seniors often work together since Modglin is the Rams' pitching ace, while Carlyle is the starting catcher. The two have developed a special bond during their high school years.

"We get along really well," Carlyle said. "We've been playing baseball together for four years now, and I've been catching him all four years. We have this kind of bond that we've been making up."

The two admit this has been a special year. Modglin still was recovering from an injury last season, so he struggled with his control, especially early in the season. But he was able to start this season healthy, and he's made the most of his opportunity.

"Any time I play baseball it's fun, and it's just a blessing to be out here," Modglin said. "I would say this is the funnest year just because we're going to state and we haven't done that since the early '90s. It's going to be real fun whether we get fourth or we get first."

Carlyle agreed reaching the state tournament has helped make this year memorable. He said it was the team's goal from the beginning of the season, but the Rams aren't satisfied just making it to Springfield.

"We want to win it," Carlyle said. "We want to be the first team in Scott City history to win a state championship. It would be awesome."

Draft watch

Modglin already signed to play baseball at Missouri State next season, but that could change, depending on what happens next week during the MLB first-year player draft.

"I'd love to go play professional ball after high school," Modglin said. "It's got to be a better money offer than college, and I have to get drafted in the upper rounds. It's got to be a better offer than college because I've got a great deal at Missouri State."

Modglin first started gaining attention because of his pitching. He's the team's ace, going 7-1 with an 0.15 ERA. He's struck out 90 in 47 1/3 innings. But Amick said he also has gotten inquiries from scouts about Modglin's hitting.

"It's great for our school and good for the kid," Amick said. "I'd say I've talked to probably 20 major league teams through the year in some form or fashion. I've thrown a lot of BP sessions for scouts. It's been a learning process. It's something I wasn't familiar with coming in.

"A lot of them are pitching, a lot of them are hitting. To be honest, I don't think you can go wrong either way."

Modglin said he never felt like he had to put on a show when scouts started showing up. He stayed confident in his abilities and tried to prove he was a talented player.

"You can't focus on it because if you focus on it, you're going to screw up," he said. "You'll put too much pressure on yourself. When they're here, I try to have as much fun as I can. If they just wanted to see a show, they'd go watch the major leagues. I just try to get on base and show them what I thought I could do."

He said he still can't believe it when professional scouts come to watch him play. It's a dream come true.

"I never would have thought in a million years that it would be like this," he said. "Some kid in Scott City, I didn't think the scouts would come see whoever. It didn't matter who it was. If Barry Bonds was here, I didn't think they'd come see him."

Carlyle isn't drawing interest from professional scouts, but he's talked with some junior college teams about playing next year.

"I'm going to play baseball somewhere," Carlyle said. "I'm still looking."

But next year can wait, at least for two more days, because the two Scott City seniors are enjoying their first trip to the state tournament.

"It's been amazing," Carlyle said. "I can't imagine anything better."

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