FORT GIBSON – He still must finish high school, but it looks like Cherokee Nation citizen Weston Rouse is ready to play baseball at the next level.
It seems that way, at least, with a college commitment already made and invitations accepted from Major League Baseball teams to spend time at scouting camps.
During his offseason, the 6-foot-7 235-pound left-handed pitcher has played some Area Code Baseball out west and traveled to Florida to participate in the World Wood Bat Association.
“I played for the Chicago White Sox at Area Code,” Rouse said. “It went really well. My dad and I traveled to San Diego. I threw two innings and struck out four, allowing no hits and a walk.”
Rouse used a four-pitch repertoire in his Area Code work – fastball, curveball, changeup and a cutter. His fastball was timed at 89-92 mph.
Each “Area Code” was rather large. Rouse played for the Chicago White Sox team, which represented one of eight regions. The Sox’s region encompassed prospects from 15 states around the Great Lakes but including Oklahoma and Arkansas. The New York Yankees got the northeast, the Washington Nationals held the southeast up to Virginia, the Cincinnati Reds mined the southwest and Rocky Mountains, the Texas Rangers featured Texas prospects, the Kansas City Royals had players from Alaska and the northwest, and California was divided between the Oakland A’s and Milwaukee Brewers, which also featured players from Hawaii.
“I played with guys from Oklahoma, Arkansas, Kansas, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Illinois,” Rouse said. “Every MLB team was in attendance and scouting players at Area Code.”
In Jupiter, Florida, during the Wood Bat Association tour, Rouse recorded three innings on the mound with seven strikeouts against the Northeast team. He was in front of “hundreds” of professional and college baseball scouts.
However, Rouse has already made a decision concerning his post-Fort Gibson High School career after he graduates in 2023. Early in his junior year, he announced his intention to play for Oklahoma State University.
“I’m just really excited to play baseball at the next level,” he said. “Coach (Josh) Holiday has a great program at Oklahoma State. My ultimate goal is to play professional baseball.”
For now, Rouse will try to pile on to his impressive stat totals during his last year at FGHS. As a junior, he went 7-0 on the mound with a 0.46 ERA and 98 strikeouts through 49 1/3 innings. In 2021, he had a 0.91 ERA with 88 K’s. He also had a batting average of .350 in 2022 and .371 in 2021.
“I’m really looking forward to my senior year of high school baseball this year,” he said. “My high school team has a different feeling than summer ball because my hometown comes out to watch us.”
Rouse added that his Cherokee heritage has influenced his life “in many ways.”
“My family is everything to me,” he said. “I respect my elders and listen to what my grandparents share with me. All four of my grandparents are Cherokee. They have helped shape me into who I am today – teaching me that family takes care of each other.”