MOUNDRIDGE — Ty Rains is already doing big things in baseball at a young age.
The 12-year-old has been selected as an All-American by the United States Specialty Sports Association. The Moundridge native was fourth best player out of 64 chosen for the honor.
Rains will be traveling down to Viera, Fla., in August to compete at the Space Coast Complex.
Rains maybe a quiet and humble kid, but deep down, he already knows that he is the toast of the town as word has spread.
“I felt so cool, and I feel I have a lot of swag,” Rains said.
Rains was a member of the Inman Crushers for two years before switching to a top-tier traveling team the AASA A's.
Before joining the team, he played against the A’s while he was with the Crushers.
Coaches and scouts couldn’t resist but have him join. According to Rains, when he tried out, he was labeled the “no doubt guy.”
“The coaches told me just to do the normal things you do at practice and just show off,” Rains said.
When Rains younger, he was small in stature. Two years ago, he had a growth spurt. Once he grew into his body his natural athletic prowess really began to show.
It would catch his father Jason Rain’s attention.
“I think as a dad you always have a desire to see your son have the same passion, but there’s that tension where you don’t try to force it,” Jason Rains said.
“We just let him grow at his own pace. The reality is, we thought he was going to be a kid who’s going to play outfield and be decent, not play spectacular.”
Jason Rains, an Indiana native, played baseball all the way through high school as an infielder. His career was cut short by a dislocated hip. Now as a proud father of two with his wife, Emilie, he is a preacher at Grace Crossing and a part-time coach.
It took him some time for him to take a step back as a baseball coach and view his son through a father’s eyes.
“When you have been an athlete and a coach, it’s hard to separate being somebody’s dad and looking at him objectively and asking how good is he?” Jason said.
“That’s why when we took him to the tryouts, we told him in the beginning that we were going out there and get our numbers from the scouts. When we got the e-mail that he was a top four pick, we realized maybe he is good.
“From here to say he wanted to do it because of my influence...it’s what every dad wants. You try to live in a way where your kids can follow your steps but you don’t force it. It’s really cool.”
“I’ll be lying to you if I said it isn’t fulfilling to see him successful with things that I loved, and my wife loves baseball, too, so it doesn’t have to be a chore to go out and watch our son play.”
Ty is not much of a bragger. He didn’t bother telling his close friends, thinking that it wouldn’t be a big deal to them. At the same time, because he’s a quiet kid, Ty let his actions speak louder than his words.
“When success finds you, you need to handle it with class, humility and gratitude. He has done a great job of that.
He knows that he is blessed with an ability that can take him a long way if he keeps his head on straight.” Jason said.
Ty plays third base and shortstop. Shortstop is his favorite just because he idolizes Derek Jeter, former shortstop for the New York Yankees and now an owner of the Miami Marlins.
Jason, along with coaches and scouts labeled him as a five-tool player. In baseball terms, he has the whole package.
During his tryouts, coaches would rank players using plus and minus signs to determine skill level. Ty scored all pluses in every category.
“He also runs a 7.62 in the 60-yard dash, which is one of the fastest times in the county. When we saw that, it was like ‘OK, what we were seeing?’ ”
“He spends a ton of hours in the gym, working out, but to see it on paper was really cool.” Jason said.
Ty dreams about playing major league baseball one day. Even though baseball is a top priority, it has never been a distraction from school — he is a straight-A student at Moundridge Middle School. His only disappointment was receiving an 89 percent in one of his classes.
“As a family it’s one of our values to be disciplined in our daily lives, and education plays a huge part of that.” Jason said.
“It’s not even just the grades, it’s how he works, how he learns, how he ask questions and how he communicates. He’s getting more advanced schooling now then he was in elementary school. To see him struggle in math, English and social studies, he learned to ask the right questions so he knows It’s not about him getting straight As, it was more about him being developed. We’re just as proud of that than we are with baseball.”
Ty is already building ties to Wichita State. Earlier this month, 12 Wichita State players got drafted into major league baseball. Ty has befriended some on the team including Greyson Jenista, Codi Heuer Gunnar Troutwine, and Alec Bohm, who was picked in the first round by the Philadelphia Phillies.
Ty maybe excited about competing in the national tournament in Florida, but he still is focusing on upcoming state tournaments. When all of that is over, Ty will figure out how to prep for Florida even though Jason believes there’s not much adjustments need to be made.
“We believe that his development has gotten to this point to be selected so why change?
“I don’t know that we would need to change a whole lot, maybe a few hundred swings in a week.”
Ty has his own Facebook page called ‘Ty Rains baseball’ where he and Jason promote their next games, news, and updates and video highlights. This is also for his sponsors to take notice, which help with travel expenses.
“The biggest thing for us is just expressing the gratitude. Obviously there is expenses into this, but a lot of these kids belong to the academy, and that’s only free marketing for him.” In the meantime Ty and his family, are enjoying every moment he has an All-American.
“As a parent, you would like to see your kid go to college, but you also want to see your kid fulfill their dreams” Jason said.