By Andrew Hendriks
Canadian Baseball Network
Following a Division-3 Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference season full of both prestigious awards and dignified achievements, Ancaster’s Connor Bowie refused to tamper with his excelled rate of development over the summer months.
After playing a pivotal role for the Mount Aloysuis Mounties in 2015 -- a season that saw the Canadian import earn AMCC Player of the Year accolades in addition to being named to the D3 Baseball All-Mideast Region Team -- the speedy outfielder joined the Sherril Silversmiths of the New York Collegiate League with aspirations of further polishing his play under the watchful eye of area scouts who frequent the eight team circuit from late may until early August.
Subsidized in part by Major League Baseball, the NYCBL serves as a wood bat development league that draws talent from across North America and abroad. Using scenic upstate New York as it’s setting, players compete during 46-game regular season schedule, with playoffs slated for early August.
Formed in 1978, the NYCBL, similar to the highly regarded Cape Cod League of the eastern seaboard, has been a launching pad for future big league stars such as J.D. Martinez, Hunter Pence, Tim Hudson and former Blue Jays shortstop, John McDonald and, having posted impressive numbers with the Smiths in 2015, Bowie hopes to follow the same base path.
Over 24 games this summer, the 21 year-old utility man carved out a league best .415 batting average complimented nicely by five doubles, two triples, a home run and 11 RBIs. Numbers strong enough to earn him a NYCBL All-Star nod this July. He singled in three trips as the Eastern division lost 8-6 to the Western before 2,519 fans at Damaschke Field in Oneonta, N.Y.
In 10 games Bowie had multi-hit games: two hits in a 2-1 loss to the Geneva RedWings, two hits including a double in a 5-4 loss to the Cortland Crush, two hits in an 8-7 loss to Cortland, two in an 8-6 loss to Cortland, three hits in a 5-1 setback to the Syracuse Jr. Chiefs, two doubles and an RBI in a 3-2 win over Syracuse, two hits in a 10-2 win against the Syracuse Salt Cats, two hits and an RBI in an 11-8 win against Geneva, two hits and an RBI in a 6-4 win against the Oneonta Outlaws and three hits and a triple in a 4-2 win over Oneonta.
Kevin Kime, Bowie’s college bench boss, understands the type of ballplayer he has on his roster. He also understands kind of unwavering dedication needed to maintain such a high level of play during what can be a stressful couple of months for young prospects eligible for the MLB draft.
“It is a very demanding commitment to play in a summer league that is sanctioned by Major League Baseball” said the Bowie coach in an interview with mountieathletics.com. “Connor is now being rewarded for his hard work and dedication.”
Hudson, a four time All-Star in the Show, played for the NYCBL Hornell Dodgers in 1996. The Oakland Athletics made him a sixth round selection a year later.
Pence, the unorthodox outfield fan favorite, played for Schenectady in 2002. Two years later, he became a second round draft pick for the Houston Astros.
Despite both having won World Series titles with the San Francisco Giants, neither of the pair led the league in a respective category during their tenure in the NYCBL ...
Ahead of next years draft, Bowie certainly appears to have an edge on his MLB predecessors.
Lucas Tevlin (Toronto, Ont.) Binghamton Bearcats also made the Eastern division roster and singled in his only at-bat. Tevlin hit .326 with six doubles and 13 RBIs for the Syracuse Salt Cats in 45 games during the regular season. He batted .308 with an RBI in three playoff games.
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