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Bobcats’ Canaday signs with Morningside baseball

T-R PHOTO BY THORN COMPTON - Marshalltown senior Wade Canaday, seated second from right, signed his National Letter of Intent to join the Morningside College baseball program on Tuesday. Joining Canaday at the table are his sister Whitney, seated left, mother Kim, seated second from left, and father Brett, seated right. Also behind Canaday are, from left, Morningside head coach Adam Boeve, Marshalltown head baseball coach Steve Hanson, and Mustangs assistant coach Adam Hilker.

Wade Canaday became the latest Marshalltown athlete to make the jump to the college ranks on Tuesday when he signed his National Letter of Intent with NAIA Morningside College in Sioux City to further his baseball career.

Canaday said it was a relief to finally get this decision out of the way.

“It was a crazy fall going to all of the colleges and seeing what they had to offer,” the Bobcat senior said. “Morningside just felt right for me and I am happy to go there for next fall’s baseball, but first I am looking forward to the summer season for the Bobcats, that’s what’s on my mind right now.”

MHS head baseball coach Steve Hanson said the Mustangs are getting a great player to add to their roster.

“The one thing about Canaday is he will work. He is a devoted weight room guy, you never have to wonder or worry if he’s in there because he’s in there,” Hanson said. “Maturity has helped certainly, he has double down on that maturity with his ability to get in the weight room. He is a long arm, strong guy who I think still has a ceiling where he will get bigger and stronger, and we are hoping that happens right about May 20th.”

Morningside head coach Adam Boeve said early on in the recruiting process he and assistant coach Adam Hilker knew Canaday would be a good fit for their program.

“When we got a chance to see Wade play this summer and saw the type of player he is and potential he has, for us it was a no-doubter,” Boeve said after making the three and a half hour drive from Sioux City for Canaday’s signing. “He’s a guy that we were extremely excited about early and we think he has tremendous potential. He is a great player and comes from a great program, we feel like he’s got a chance to come in and compete early in his career and really have a great four-year career for us.”

Recruitment can be a whirlwind at times with so much being thrown at players to consider in making such a big decision, but Canaday said Hilker and Boeve made his choice an easy one.

“It was kind of confusing and a lot to take in at the moment,” Canaday said. “When all the coaches are texting you and trying to get you to come on a visit, and then when you do go on a visit after a while it all feels like the same, so you have to look at all the factors and what you really like about the place.

“Coach Boeve and coach Hilker really made a difference. Coach Boeve would call me every week just to catch up and just kind of establish a relationship between us, that really sold the deal for me.”

In his junior season for Marshalltown, Canaday had a 1.59 earned-run average with 42 strikeouts and 14 walks in 39.2 innings pitched. He also had a .283 batting average with 24 RBIs and four home runs. Hanson said Canaday is a complete package on the diamond, which attracted quite a few suitors from the college ranks.

“He has been a contributor for us for three years, we don’t have many three-year letter winners and he’s one of them,” Hanson said. “He is a tremendous player and an even better student and person. If you can combine all three of those elements then somebody is going to want to pay attention to you and someone is going to notice.

“He’s been a corner infielder for us, started as a first baseman and then played third and depending on who’s pitching he can play in the middle of our infield too this year. And he has played in the outfield and was a catcher at one time, so he has played everything.”

Boeve said even more than his ability on the court it was Canaday’s demeanor outside the diamond that made him a prime candidate.

“Who he is as a person is something that I was immediately drawn to, he’s just a high-character kid and an outstanding person,” Boeve said. “When you combine that with the kind of player and attitude that he has it was a no-brainer for us.”

Canaday gives Hanson a lot of credit for the development of his character.

“In the summer we practice four to five hours, five or even six days a week. I think through the summer doing all that when it’s hot outside, that really makes me the person who I am and it will prepare me really well for college baseball,” he said.

That ability to create not just good players, but good people, is something Hanson said he takes pride in, but he also said Canaday had a lot to do with his own development.

“If you come out of our program I hope that you are well prepared, and each college has its own tastes, likes and dislikes, but I would hope that the guys that we send out are able to step in and compete, step in and be coached, step in and be good teammates,” Hanson said. “I think Wade is a prime example of that and I think we have some more guys that are in that mode”

Because of his experience in multiple positions on the diamond, including a good presence on the mound, Boeve said he’s not sure where Canaday is going to fit into the mix yet but he will definitely contribute and do so early on in his career.

“He is an athletic guy who really brings a lot of strong baseball tools, first off. No matter where he eventually fits, he is definitely going to find his spot,” Boeve said. “Somewhere on the corner infield and on the mound is where we think he will eventually end up being, but you don’t rule out anything. You try to find out what they are good at, what their skill sets can do and put them in the best spot where they are going to have success.”

Hanson said he could see Canaday on the mound at the next level, and not just because he topped out with an 87 mph fastball in the Perfect Game Midwest Prospect Showcase in August.

“The thing you notice about him is his size and his ability to throw the fastball, if you can do that then somebody is going to pay attention to it,” Hanson said. “I think that’s just the culmination of the work that he put in, the attention to detail that he undertakes with everything he does, and he’s just been a really good teammate as well. If you had 15 of those guys you’d be pretty successful.”

Canaday is the third MHS player to join the Morningside program, along with 1998 graduate Mike Clement and 1997 graduate Dave Miriovsky. Canaday said he hopes his signing is testament to the good things that can happen with the Marshalltown baseball program.

“I think this says a lot about Marshalltown baseball in general,” he said. “We made it to state last year and that was just hard work, and if you put your mind to it you can do it too.”

Hanson agreed with his senior signee, saying Canaday will hopefully inspire the next crop of future Bobcats to follow in his footsteps.

“I hope this excites younger kids to say, ‘well he did, I think I can do that too,'” Hanson said. “We have several guys in that same category that haven’t emerged yet but could, and if this helps accelerate that emergence then I’m all for it.”

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