Todd Rausch threw a strike from the pitcher’s mound Wednesday night much like he did some 20 years ago.
Rausch, a 1992 graduate of Newton High School, became the 23rd inductee of the school’s baseball hall of fame, prior to the Cardinals’ game against Oskaloosa. The Johnston resident threw a ceremonial first pitch and was honored with a brief ceremony highlighting his achievements on the diamond.
“This is great. This is awesome that they do it,” he said. “It’s definitely an honor.”
Rausch pitched as a freshman for Oskaloosa before his family moved to Newton prior to his sophomore season. “It’s kind of ironic they’re playing them tonight,” he said and smiled.
Rausch played primarily in center field with the Cardinals from 1990-92. He batted .326 for his career, hitting 18 doubles, four triples and five home runs. He proved a tough out at the plate, striking out only 21 times in 75 games in a Newton uniform.
He continued playing in college and excelled at St. Ambrose University. Rausch was a two-time first team All-Conference outfielder in 1995 and 1996 as well as a NAIA All Region outfielder and honorable mention All-American in 1995.
St. Ambrose advanced to the NAIA College World Series his sophomore and senior seasons. The Bees came up short of the title both times, finishing third in 1994 and second in 1996.
“The ‘96 team really stands out because we were runner-up that year,” Rausch said. “That was pretty cool. Had a real good team. Season started out kind of slow, but I think we won a string of 24 or 26, games and we didn’t lose. We had real good team. It was a good time.”
Rausch’s playing career continued throughout high school and into college despite having surgery to repair torn ligaments in his throwing elbow following his freshman year of high school. The operation didn’t deter him from getting back on the field.
“It never really struck me I wouldn’t play again,” he said. “I was out throwing the ball around about a month after I got the cast off.”
Most recently, Rausch has spent the last eight years working for Wells Fargo. He and his wife, Renae, have three kids, Tristan, 16, Devon, 14, and Katie, 13.
He said coming back to Newton, where his parents still live, brought back some memories.
“It’s nice they do this hall of fame thing,” Rausch said. “There’s memories. You see people you haven’t seen in a while and that’s cool.”