A Wanted Man

Josh Laxer, a talented right-handed pitcher from Madison Central High School, was going to play for an in-state college. Ole Miss won out.

Laxer, a 6-foot-1, 195-pound senior at MCHS who will sign with the Rebels in November, said Ole Miss assistant coach Carl Lafferty was the difference.

"Coach Lafferty has definitely seen me throw twice as much as any of the other schools," Laxer said. "He's been everywhere I've been. Been sweating in the stands if I was pitching at a showcase. That was a big deal to me. That showed their want for me above everyone else. That made the decision easier for me."

Born in Augusta, Ga., Laxer lived there for several years and in Nashville, Tenn., as well. He and his family moved to Mississippi, and he has attended Madison Central schools since 2002.

"I honestly can say I don't have any love for any college," he said. "That's what made the decision so hard. It wasn't a problem, it was just a big decision. It was pretty stressful the month of July. It was between Ole Miss, (Mississippi) State, and Southern (Miss). I liked them equally for the most part. I just prayed about it. What team wanted me the most was a big factor."

That's where his recruitment came in, namely the job Lafferty did to get him to Ole Miss.

Laxer hasn't been to Ole Miss a lot, nor has he taken in many college baseball games. But he has camped at Ole Miss, and that was important.

"I think I've been to two games. I haven't really been to a lot of college games," he said. "I did come to camp up there in December of last year. I did some workouts and threw a bullpen. They said after the camp was over they were interested in me and would come watch me. They kept their word and that was important to me. They definitely showed up more than any of the other colleges."

Laxer pitched this summer and was pleased with the results.

"I played summer ball with my school team. I went to three or four showcases. I didn't really jump from team to team, but I played for two or three different teams. Pitched in Atlanta and in Oklahoma. I didn't stay on just one team because being just a pitcher, it allowed me to pitch more doing that. I feel good about the summer I had."

Last season as a junior at MCHS, he was 6-1 with a 1.71 ERA.

"I believe my best pitch is my slider, because I guess you don't see a lot of sliders in high school. I know you do in college," he said. "I'm developing a curve ball. Right now I have a four-seam fast ball, a two-seam fast ball, a slider, and a changeup."

His fastball ranges from 90-94 mph. His changeup is 79-82, and his slider 80-83.

"I've been working on my curve ball," Laxer said. "I'm not used to being on top of pitches. So my curve ball is just developing."

His goals for his senior year at MCHS are to improve all areas and continue to pitch against a high level of competition.

"I'm going to one or two more showcases," he said. "One's in Jupiter, Fla. I'm looking at playing in the Jackson area this fall. There are like ten teams and you play against each other. I may do that. I was asked to be a captain and get to pick my teammates. I'm still deciding on that. That's with Performance Sports Baseball.

"I want to make it to Trustmark again," he continued, referring to the state championship high school finals. "As a senior I definitely want to make it there again. I know we have the tools, we just have to put them to good use."

Last year the Jaguars lost to Petal in the Class 6A finals, and the year before it was Madison Central getting the best of Petal for the state championship.

"The plan is to win it all again," he said.

And after that for Josh Laxer, get to Oxford to play college baseball for the Ole Miss Rebels.


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