Welch named to all-star tourney
August 12, 2013 · Jake Krob
For the first time in more than a decade, Mount Vernon is represented in the Iowa High School Baseball Coaches Association's all-star tournament.
Mustang catcher Connor Welch, the son of Jeff and Beth Welch who just concluded his senior season, will play on the Small Schools East team this week. He becomes the ninth Mount Vernon player since 1988 to play in the tournament, which features the best senior players in Iowa. The last Mustang all-star participant was Aaron Reasland in 2001.
Welch was Mount Vernon's starting catcher, helping catapult the team to co-conference, district and substate titles, and a state berth this summer. He said a coach from Wilton who's involved with the all-star tournament thought Welch had a strong game when Mount Vernon played Wilton, and that led to Welch being invited to the tournament.
Preliminary all-star games are at West Des Moines Valley. Welch's team plays Large Schools East today (Thursday, Aug. 8) at 5 p.m.; Large Schools West Friday at 10:30 a.m.; and Small Schools West Saturday at 3 p.m. The tournament's consolation game is 10 a.m. Saturday at Principal Park in Des Moines, with the championship game there at 12:15 p.m.
Welch said he'd prefer to play catcher, but "I'll play anywhere."
After all, it's the love of the game that he cares about most.
"I was in every sport, but I grew to really love baseball," he said.
He started catching as an eight-year-old, when he got on an AAU team and the squad needed to fill that position.
Welch said he enjoys that "you're in every single play" at catcher, and "you're in charge - you're a leader."
Although Welch and his fellow Mustangs had the thrill of a postseason title and making it to state, Welch said the highlight of his high school career has been working with pitchers Cal Kragenbrink and CJ Eldred.
"It's been great to grow and thrive with those two guys," Welch said. "We're like brothers."
Before the all-star games this week Welch was at Iowa Central Community College in Fort Dodge, where he'll play baseball.
He said he's considering a career in physical therapy, noting he admires the work his high school coach, Jeremy Elliott, does as an athletic trainer for Iowa Physical Therapy.