Canaday’s last dance as a Bobcat

MHS graduate, Morningside recruit competes in IAHSBCA All-Star Series

T-R PHOTO BY ROSS THEDE - Marshalltown High School graduate Wade Canaday warms up from his second base position during Sunday’s championship game of the Iowa High School Baseball Coaches Association’s All-Star Series at Merchants Park in Carroll.

CARROLL — By the time Iowa High School Baseball Coaches Association president Lee Toole draped the medal around Wade Canaday’s neck, the Marshalltown High School graduate felt as though he had already been rewarded.

Getting to play in the IAHSBCA All-Star Series was compensation enough.

Canaday played his final four games in a Bobcat uniform from Thursday through Sunday at historic Merchants Park in Carroll, helping the Large Schools West squad reach the championship game before falling to the Small East club, 3-2, in Sunday’s finale.

Canaday, who leaves in a week for Morningside College in Sioux City, went 0-for-3 at the plate but pitched one scoreless inning of relief on Sunday for the Large West contingent that featured a number of fellow members of the Central Iowa Metropolitan League. Competing in an all-star game against the best the state has to offer was like just another day on the MHS diamond for the the first-team all-conference, all-district and coaches all-state selection.

“I think it was pretty fun just to come and meet all the guys from around the state and the Large West schools that are competing at the high level just like me,” said Canaday. “It was kind of cool to get to know them all and play with them in a different atmosphere.

T-R PHOTO BY ROSS THEDE - Marshalltown High School graduate Wade Canaday flies out to right field during his third at-bat during Sunday’s championship game of the Iowa High School Baseball Coaches Association’s All-Star Series at Merchants Park in Carroll. Canaday was 0-for-3 in the contest.

“It was still pretty tough competition with all the teams but it wasn’t much different than what we face in the CIML.”

The Large West squad started the weekend series with a 7-6 win over the Small West on Thursday in a game in which Canaday got the save. On Friday, the Large West team scuttled the same Small East club it faced on Sunday, winning 11-1 in five innings.

Canaday went 1-for-2 at the plate in Saturday’s 8-0 loss to the Large East team, and on Sunday he forced home the first Large West run when he grounded into a bases-loaded double play in the bottom of the third inning.

It felt like an opportunity missed for Canaday, but it gave his team a 1-0 lead that turned out to be shortlived. Mason City Newman’s Evan Paulus, a Kirkwood Community College recruit, hit a two-run home run off West Des Moines Valley’s Ben De Taeye in the top of the fourth. De Taeye, who will attend Iowa Central CC, surrendered a leadoff single to Wilton’s Collin McCrabb (NIACC) before Paulus launched a two-run round-tripper with two outs.

The Small East squad tacked on another run in the fifth with Upper Iowa commit Jake Hilmer from North Linn reached on a one-out bunt single, stole second on a pickoff attempt and scored on McCrabb’s two-out double to left.

T-R PHOTO BY ROSS THEDE - Marshalltown’s Wade Canaday delivers a curveball toward the plate during the top of the sixth inning of Sunday’s IAHSBCA All-Star Series championship game in Carroll.

Canaday, who played second base, came on to pitch the top of the sixth and surrendered a one-out double to Jackson Fisher of Chariton, a DMACC recruit, but got Davis County’s Trevor Slayton on strikes before Mount Vernon’s Tyler Elliott (Coe College) grounded out to end the inning.

“Definitely today was a little bit more nerves when you come out there because it meant something,” Canaday said of the championship game. “I just tried to play hard but we didn’t get the runs we needed so it didn’t end our way.”

The Large West club got one run back on a pair of errors in the top of the sixth, but Hilmer relieved St. Ansgar’s Collin Kramer (NIACC) and got the final five outs for the save. Hilmer, who will play both basketball and baseball at Upper Iowa, struck out the last two hitters to finish off the sixth and atoned for a leadoff walk to Southeast Polk’s Adam Schneider (Minnesota State) by getting Carlisle pinch-hitter Isaiah Henrichs (Heartland CC) to ground into a rally-killing double play. Urbandale’s Brook Heinen (Kirkwood) was the final out.

Canaday finished with a pair of groundouts and a flyout in his three plate appearances, and was replaced by Glenwood’s Cade Van Ness (DMACC) on the mound for the seventh. Van Ness walked Hilmer but got a pair of groundouts and a strikeout to avoid any further damage.

Canaday was the 15th Bobcat graduate to play in the IAHSBCA Senior All-Star Series in the last 13 seasons.

T-R PHOTO BY ROSS THEDE

“Wade epitomizes everything we want Bobcat baseball players to be,” said Marshalltown’s outgoing head coach Steve Hanson, who was on hand as a contributing member of the IAHSBCA. “He’s a very disciplined individual who has been a great student, a great teammate, a great weight room guy and a great representative of our school and community.

“It’s wonderful that he had the chance to come and compete with the best the state has to offer this weekend. He worked hard to put himself in this position so it’s neat to see guys get some payback for their efforts.”

Of the 16 players on the Large West roster, 12 of them were from CIML schools. The players voted Waukee’s Cole Kaufman (DMACC) as their Most Valuable Player for the week. Canaday said he bonded most with Johnston’s Peyton Williams, a University of Iowa recruit who was unavailable for Sunday’s championship game.

“I think it’s pretty cool to be recognized for what I worked for all four years of high school for, and just to be able to play and represent Marshalltown was amazing,” Canaday said. “I felt like [my high school career] was already done. This was just an extra thing I got to do because of my good season I guess. The games with Marshalltown were more important for me.”

He certainly served the Bobcats well, finishing as the team’s leading hitter with a .378 batting average, 13 doubles, four home runs and 31 RBIs. He was also the team’s winningest pitcher, going 8-2 with a 1.54 earned run average. His resume this past summer featured wins over Southeast Polk, Fort Dodge (twice), Mason City, Valley and Ankeny.

T-R PHOTO BY ROSS THEDE

“He represented himself very well,” Hanson said. “That’s a great representation of our program as it always is. We’ve had numerous guys play in this event and I hope that they had a good time at it because I know our goal of sending kids here is to have them represent us — they represent our community and our program and Wade certainly did a very good job of that this week.”

Canaday falls in line with a long list of former Bobcats to play in the All-Star Series, joining Nate Vance and Kody Ricken (2018), Joe Rebik (2016), Grant Thimesch (2015), Dylan Diveney (2014), Blake Judkins (2013), Kyle Carnahan (2012), Jake Whaley (2011), Nick Thimesch (2010), Jimmy Six and T.J. Flanagan (2009), Zach Thompson and Tyler Peschong (2008), and Austin Swartz (2007).

In all, there have been 40 Marshalltown baseball players to participate in the All-Star Series dating back to 1977.