West Bladen baseball coach Kim Cain speaks glowingly about the talents of his junior center fielder Scott Bowen. Whether it’s in the field, on the bases, at the plate, in the dugout and in classroom, Cain can’t find enough positive words to describe the rising senior.
But he does have one regret.
“I wish I had 10 more like him,” Cain said.
Bowen is coming off a high-school season that saw him develop into one of the Knights’ best clutch hitters throughout the season. Batting out of the No. 5 hole, Bowen’s highlight might very well be a walk-off RBI double against Midway in a hard-fought 6-5 Four County Conference game that gave West Bladen its first-ever win over the Raiders.
He was also a big reason the Knights put together a seven-game winning streak during the season and finished in a tie for second place at 11-3 in the conference.
“Scott’s real versatile,” Cain said about Bowen, who came to West Bladen as a freshman catcher. “He can play all nine positions and play them well. He’s got speed and a very strong arm.”
After his junior season, which ended with a heart-breaking, first-round 1-0 Class 2-A playoff loss at Dixon, Bowen didn’t hang up his spikes and mitt for the summer.
Book-ending the Fourth of July holiday, Bowen traveled to the pristine Lake Point Sports Complex in Cartersville, Ga., as a member of the Dirtbags Falcon team out of Guilford County to compete in the nationally recognized World Wood Bat Association National Championship.
“(That) was a great experience,” Bowen said. “The competition was unreal. Most pitchers we faced sat around the mid- to upper-80s. Three Power 5 Divison 1 commits we faced reached the lower 90s.”
His Dirtbags team fared relatively well. After a tournament-opening 7-1 loss to the Cangelosi Sparks, the Dirtbags rebounded with a 5-0 whitewashing of the South Florida Bandits. They then fell to the 5-Star National Dobbs 7-0 before earning a 9-0 shutout of the SWFL Elite to finish 2-2.
Bowen, who hit .333 and played a clean centerfield in the tournament, was quick to recognize teammates.
“We had two guys on my team crush monster home runs,” he said. “One of our pitchers threw a no-hitter. Every position was played at a high level.”
What’s next …
At West Bladen High, the rising senior may already have the BMOC title. But when the coming school year arrives, Bowen won’t be as visible as he was when his junior year began. He will not be strapping on the shoulder pads and helmet this fall.
“Playing football … was a good experience,” said Bowen, who was thrust into the starting quarterback position last season when an injury sidelined Weston Pidgeon. “But this year I want to focus on baseball and basketball.
“I hope the football team has a great year,” he added.
For Bowen, the decision to forego the gridiron his senior year wasn’t a tough one.
“Baseball is my favorite sport (and) playing at the next level is a goal of mine that I hope to reach someday,” he said.
Baseball beyond high school may be something that could be construed as a foregone conclusion for Bowen, but before that, he’s hoping for a solid senior season.
“I want to win a conference championship,” he said. “We have two seniors coming back, myself and Trey Storms, and two sophomores, Logan West and Jake Butler, so we are going to have a young team — but I think we will have a good team.”
West Bladen will move from the Four County Conference into a new conference that, along with East Bladen, will feature the likes of Whiteville, Fairmont, St. Pauls and South Columbus among others.
Beyond high school
With several months remaining before the official commitment date, Bowen said he has a couple of colleges that he is mulling over, and with any luck could make a verbal commitment along the way.
But Cain already knows that Bowen will be an asset wherever he lands.
“He’ll do well at the next level,” Cain said. “I foresee him being an infielder — third base or second base, maybe — in college.”
Bowen said he’s not concerned with playing a specific position.
“Wherever the team needs me … I will be willing to play,” he said.
Until then, Bowen will continue to hone his skills.
“I hope to take some experience from this summer and use it in this upcoming season,” Bowen said.
From Knights to Dirtbags and back again, Bowen’s baseball future looks bright.
W. Curt Vincent can be reached by calling 910-862-4163 or by email at email@example.com.