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Call earns scholarship, commits to Ball State

River Falls High School senior Alex Call, front center, is flanked by his parents Marv and Katy and Wildcat baseball co-head coaches Ryan Bishop, back left, and Mark Hallberg as he signs his national letter of intent to accept a baseball scholarship to NCAA Division I Ball State University Wednesday afternoon at the high school. <i>Submitted photo</i>

Alex Call just completed his senior season of high school football at River Falls by being named to the All-Big Rivers Conference team at three different positions.

And football isn't even his best sport.

Call took time before Wildcat basketball practice last Wednesday afternoon to officially commit to attend college and play baseball at Ball State University in Muncie, Ind., beginning next fall.

He signed his letter of intent on national early signing day at a ceremony at the high school with his parents, Marv and Katy, and Wildcat baseball coaches Ryan Bishop and Mark Hallberg by his side.

"I couldn't be more proud of Alex and what he has meant to River Falls Baseball over the past four years," Bishop said. "He has no doubt earned this opportunity through hard work and self-discipline both on and off the field. Best of all, his story proves to younger athletes that you don't have to specialize in one sport to be successful. I'm excited for Alex and his opportunity to pursue his baseball dreams at Ball State University."

Call is the first baseball player from River Falls High School to earn a Division I scholarship since Steve Farley, who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 1981.

Call, an all-conference quarterback, kicker and punter on the Wildcat football team and a guard on the Cats' basketball team, has been ranked as one of the top outfielders in the state of Wisconsin over the past three seasons. He was named to the All-BRC first team, Wisconsin Baseball Coaches Association All-District first team and WBCA All-State third team last spring as a junior after hitting for a team-best .421 batting average.

He also led the team in slugging percentage, runs scored and stolen bases and has helped the Wildcats to a regional championship and two other regional finals appearances. As a sophomore in 2010 he earned honorable mention to the All-BRC team.

This past summer he was among an elite group of high school players from across the state that helped Team Wisconsin win the championship at the 2012 Midwest Classic Baseball Tournament in Plainfield, Ill. July 27-29.

Team Wisconsin topped a field that included the best players from New York, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Nebraska and Illinois to win the tournament championship with a record of 3-1-1. In five games Call hit .362 with a pair of doubles to help Team Wisconsin to the title.

Call also led the American Legion Post 121 baseball team in hitting this summer and was the youngest player in the St. Croix Valley Baseball League, appearing in four games for the River Falls Fighting Fish and batting .333 with one double, one RBI and two runs scored. He also played with the Minnesota Blizzard Elite traveling team.

In the classroom, he is ranked No. 1 in his high school class and is a member of the National Honor Society.

Hallberg, who coached both the Wildcat and American Legion teams this past summer said Call earned his scholarship through hard work on the field and in the classroom.

"Alex has earned this scholarship with his outstanding athletic abilities and his academic prowess," Hallberg said. "He has all the qualities to be a great player if he chooses to do so. I look forward to following Alex beyond his time here at River Falls High School and sincerely congratulate Alex and his family on this day."

Call is one of nine recruits nationwide who committed to Ball State last week.

"Alex is a gifted multi-sport athlete with speed, arm strength and bat potential," Cardinals' head coach Rich Maloney said in a press release issued by the school. "Alex is a competitor who aspires to be his best and we look forward to helping him further develop his physical tools. He is a tremendous student-athlete, and his best days are ahead of him. With hard work we see a very positive future for both Alex and his 2013 class."

Bob Burrows
Bob Burrows has been sports editor at the River Falls Journal since 1996 and at the Hudson Star-Observer since 2009. Prior to joining the Journal, Burrows served as sports editor with Ledger Publications in Balsam Lake, Wis. A native of Bayonne, N.J. and a U.S. Navy veteran, Burrows attended Marquette University before completing his studies at UW-River Falls in 1992.
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