Boone Faces Tough Decision

No matter where <b>Clayton Boone</b> is playing next spring, he will go down in history at <b>El Paso New Franklin High School</b>. <p> <br>

Boone, a 6-foot-4, 190-pound, right-handed fireballer will either become the first player New Franklin baseball player to be drafted in the major league draft or the first to play at Tech.

Then again, both routes are possible.

Last season, Boone went 10-3, garnering attention from both professional baseball scouts and college recruiters alike.

In November, Boone inked a letter of intent to attend Tech.

"Playing in the Big 12 Conference was a big reason for me signing there," Boone said. "Then Coach (Larry) Hays. He's really built that program well. It's always been a dream of mine to play college baseball."

Boone said his choice to sign with Tech was easy, but several other baseball powerhouses recruited him, including New Mexico and Pepperdine.

"When I went to visit Tech, I fell in love with the school," Boone said. "The baseball program has great tradition and Coach Hays is a great guy."

Last summer, Boone took advantage of a rare oppurtunity and moved Albuquerque, New Mexico, where he lived with a host family, while playing for a Chicago Cubs scout team.

"It was an awesome experience," Boone said. "I was with a great group of guys. We played 60 games and were on the road every weekend. I loved it."

His play for the Cubs scout team got more "baseball people" interested in his potential as a player.

Based upon the recommendation of Texas Rangers' scout, Boone was invited to the famed Area Code games in Long Beach, Calif.

"Being there was awesome," Boone said. "It tells you where you are and it really pushes you. I probably only pitched five or six innings, but it was a great experience."

As Boone continues to improve as a pitcher, New Franklin skipper Steve Mims can't help but compare him to another hurler he coached several years ago at El Paso Coronado High School.

"Cody is very comparable to Rocky Coppinger," said Mims of Coppinger, who currently pitches for the Milwaukee Brewers. "In terms of competitive nature, they are both very similar. Cody also has great work ethic. He's not a rah-rah guy, but instead he leads by example."

Boone's pitching arsenal, includes a blistering fastball, which has been clocked as high as 92 mph. He also relies upon a nasty curveball and crippling change-up.

"I try not to pay attention to the scouts in the stand," Boone said. "It's an honor to know they're there to watch you."

Last season, all three of Boone's losses were against ranked teams. He lost two games to Midland High, which won the 5A State title and featured prep standout Jayson Nix, who was the 44th pick overall by the Colorado Rockies in last June's pro baseball draft.

Boone anticipates attending Tech, but will have to make a difficult decision after this summer's baseball draft.

"It's kind of exciting to know you have a chance to get drafted, but I am not going to let it get to me," said Boone. "If I get drafted, I get drafted. "It depends on where I get drafted though. Right now, I am just going to work as hard as I can this year and hope to be at Tech in next fall."

Raider Power Top Stories