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Posted: Wednesday, June 9th 2010 at 12:59pm

Lakeview's Cash leads area baseball players in MLB draft

By Morgan Lee Editor
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Ralston Cash
GAINESVILLE -- Ralston Cash already made history this school year when the Lakeview Academy baseball star signed a Letter of Intent to play at the University of Georgia.

Turns out he was just scratching the surface.

On Tuesday, the Lions pitcher became the 78th pick in the Major League Baseball draft when the Los Angeles Dodgers selected Cash in the second round.

“It still hasn’t hit me,” said Cash, who became (along with teammate Brett Armour) the first Lakeview athlete to sign a Division I scholarship this fall when he accepted an offer from the Bulldogs.

Now, Athens isn’t even on Cash’s radar.

“I’m going to go straight into the (Dodgers) system,” said Cash, who paced the Lions from the mound and the plate over the past two seasons. “At this point we’ll just start negotiating with Los Angeles on a contract after the draft is over.”

Funny enough, southern California wasn’t on Cash’s radar either before this past weekend.

“I figured it was going to be Seattle or St. Louis,” said Cash, who had conversations with both the Mariners and Cardinals organizations prior to a surprise phone call from the Dodgers on Saturday.

“I was eating dinner, and they called and asked if I could come out and throw for them,” Cash said. “I figured it would be Monday, but they said they wanted me on a plane at 8 a.m. (Sunday). I was like, ‘whoa, that’s not going to happen.’ But we made it work, and I was out there during the Braves series. I threw in the home bullpen, and they kept me kind of hidden away from the Braves people because they didn’t want them to know they were talking to me.”

Yet Cash still felt it would be either Seattle or St. Louis when the draft began on Monday.

“I really enjoyed Seattle and the way the city felt.” Cash said. “But both Seattle and St. Louis drafted guys I had competed against. L.A. and Seattle are two different worlds, but God wants me in L.A.

“It’s also really cool because the Dodgers drafted my cousin Ethan Martin couple of years ago, so it’s a family thing now.”

Cash gave plenty of credit to Lakeview coach Deuce Roark for his ascension into the professional ranks.

“We didn’t always see eye-to-eye, but he made my mental game unbelievable,” Cash said of Roark. “I can’t thank him enough.”

It is a storybook ending to a prep career and the beginning of a new career at the next level.

Cash is the first area player to be drafted this season. North Gwinnett's Christopher Hawkins was also taken by Toronto in the third round at No. 93. Meanwhile, Mill Creek's Matthew Grimes was also picked in the fourth round by the Chicago White Sox.

Former Chestatee High star and current University of Georgia pitcher Alex McRee was also drafted by the Dodgers in the 14th round. He was a 26th round selection of Los Angeles in 2009 but did not sign.

McRee, (6-foot-7, 235 pounds), went 0-1 with a 7.25 ERA and three saves in 22.1 innings pitched in 2010. He was the 442nd overall selection in the draft. In his final season, he struggled with his control, finishing with 32 walks, 14 wild pitches and 38 strikeouts in 20 appearances including two starts. However while at Georgia, he helped the Bulldogs to the 2008 College World Series Finals and the 2009 NCAA Tallahassee Regional.

“I had a mental block this season, and I think that could’ve scared off some teams, and really I got unlucky the past two seasons with that and when I got mononucleosis last year,” said McRee. “Still, I’ve got a chance to prove myself, and that’s all that really matters.”

As a sophomore for the Southeastern Conference champion Bulldogs, McRee went 7-1 with a 3.98 ERA in 31 appearances. As a junior, he went 4-4 with a 6.27 ERA in 15 appearances. For his career, he went 13-10 with four saves in 85 games including 21 starts. McRee’s 85 appearances rank fifth in school history.

McRee is a four-time member of the SEC Academic Honor Roll and a biology major who needs just one more semester to earn his degree. Alex is the son of Mitch and Lynn McRee.

McRee is the third member of the current Bulldogs to be drafted Tuesday, joining pitchers Justin Grimm (fifth round, Texas) and Jeff Walters (seventh round, New York Mets). All of Georgia’s starting position players this past season were freshmen and sophomores and thus not available to be drafted. The Bulldogs have a string of 37 straight seasons with at least one player signing a professional contract. In 2009, Georgia led the nation with 11 players selected in the amateur draft.

-- OTHER AREA DRAFTEES: The Atlanta Braves selected South Forsyth's Zachary Alvord in the 18th round. ... East Hall High graduate and current Santa Fe Community College player Ken Wise was also taken by Baltimore in the 19th round.

-- Information on McRee provided by University of Georgia sports information
Associated Categories: Sports News, High School Sports

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