Marysville High School graduate Tom Rausch is depicted in this display for his 2015 induction into the MHS Athletic Hall of Fame. Rausch was also a pitcher for the Ohio University baseball team that played in the CollegeWorld Series 50 years ago. (File photo)
Tom Rausch was pitcher for Bobcats
Although there is no College Baseball World Series being played this month, the spring of 2020 is still significant for one Marysville native.
Tom Rausch was a member of the Ohio University baseball team that earned a trip to the CWS 50 years ago.
Rausch, a 1968 graduate of Marysville High School, was a sophomore pitcher on the Bobcat squad that made its first (and only to date) appearance at the annual tournament in Omaha, Neb.
He remembered the 1970 season during a telephone interview with the Journal-Tribune.
“We had a fabulous hitting team that was led by Mike Schmidt,” said Rausch. “He was just a natural athlete and we knew he was something special.”
Schmidt played 18 seasons with the Philadelphia Phillies and was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1995.
Schmidt wasn’t the only future Major League player whose bat helped support the Bobcats’ pitching.
Steve Swisher, who went on to play nine seasons in the big leagues with the Chicago Cubs, St. Louis Cardinals and San Diego Padres, was a catcher on that squad.
Rausch said OU’s mound work was “pitch by committee” during the season.
“We played one non-conference game a week on a Tuesday,” he said. “Our Mid American Conference games were on the weekends. We’d play one MAC game on Friday and a doubleheader on Saturday.
“Our coach, Bob Wren, pitched a lot of guys in order to keep everyone sharp,” said Rausch.
For the season, the former Monarch standout posted a 1-0 record and a solid 2.50 ERA.
The Bobcats were supposed to host the NCAA District 4 tournament to begin post-season play that season.
A national tragedy, however, prevented that from happening.
Several students at Kent State University were shot and killed by Ohio National Guardsmen during protests against the Vietnam War.
“Ohio University closed down 10 days after the shootings,” Rausch remembered. “However, our athletic director allowed us to continue our season.”
The team moved all of its practices to a camp that was operated by former Cincinnati Reds slugger Ted Kluszewski. The camp was located in Bainbridge.
“Coach Wren was on the camp staff, so we were able to practice there,” said Rausch.
The District 4 tournament was instead played in Columbus at the old Jets Stadium.
The Bobcats beat Minnesota, 6-4, and Southern Illinois by scores of 7-0 and 8-5 to capture the district championship.
It was then off to the College World Series, which was played at the famed Rosenblatt Stadium.
OU began the CWS with a 4-1 triumph over Southern California.
That was followed by a 7-2 setback at the hands of the Texas Longhorns.
“Texas had Burt Hooten, a former Major League pitcher, and James Street, who played quarterback for its football team,” said Rausch.
The Bobcats bounced back to defeat Iowa State, 9-6.
Rausch came out of the bullpen to earn the save for that victory.
“I was a late-inning type of pitcher,” he said.
Ohio University then concluded its season with a 31-4 record after a 2-0 loss to Florida State in the CWS semi-finals.
“It was a great experience to play in the World Series,” said Rausch. “For a lot of us, it was the first time we had ever flown.
“Coach Wren knew we were going to be a pretty good team,” he said. “However, he was on the college baseball rules committee and would have attended the World Series anyway.
“He told us ‘I’m going to Omaha, you guys might as well come with me.’”
Rausch drew Wren’s attention after a standout Marysville High School diamond career.
He earned All-Mid Eight first-team honors as a junior and senior and was an honorable mention selection as a sophomore.
Rausch posted a 10-4 record and combined with Bob Hill for a no-hitter against Big Walnut during his senior campaign.
As a junior, he fanned 15 batters during a 5-4 victory over Groveport.
Rausch, who also played football and basketball at MHS, graduated from OU with a degree in business administration.
Rausch went undrafted by MLB teams. He did, however attend tryout camps for the Cincinnati Reds and Pittsburgh Pirates.
A rotator cuff injury he suffered as an OU senior pretty much ended any Major League dreams.
“My junior season was OK, but my shoulder problem hurt my senior year,” he said. “At that time, it was a new type of injury.”
Rausch did play for a while in the Columbus Night League with the Worthington Steel team.
He also worked in the finance industry for a number of years following his graduation from OU.
Rausch later retired in 2015 as a production associate for Honda of America.
That was also the year in which he was selected for the Marysville High School Athletic Hall of Fame.
He will join another HOF in a few months.
Ohio University recently announced the entire 1970 baseball squad will be enshrined into the school’s Hall of Fame during the fall.
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