Pumped-up Bowers powers Westminster

April 27, 1995|By Bill Free | Bill Free,Sun Staff Writer

Denny Bowers spent the winter in the weight room bulking up and this spring people are spending a lot of time looking for the baseballs he is hitting out of the park.

At North Hagerstown, the Westminster junior (6-foot-2, 210 pounds) sent a long shot over the left-field fence and over the railroad tracks in back of the fence.

Owls co-coach Carl Rihard estimated that the home run traveled close to 400 feet.

In a game at Linganore, Bowers slammed a home run that easily cleared the left-field fence and landed on a grassy knoll far beyond the fence. That blast in the sixth inning gave Westminster an 8-7 victory over the Lancers and "was the most exciting hit this season," Bowers said.

On the road against North Carroll, he stroked a vicious line drive to right center that got over the fence in a hurry.

Continuing his road show at Atholton, the designated hitter lashed a long drive that soared out of the park and opened a few eyes in Howard County.

"Denny can reach up and really whack the ball," said Westminster shortstop Paul Reter. "He was in the weight room all winter. I spent some time in the weight room but not nearly as much as he did."

Rihard said Bowers "likes the high balls and he gets his hands up to hit them."

Through the first 12 games that included a 10-0 start by the ninth-ranked Owls, Bower was hitting .462 with four home runs, 15 RBIs, 15 runs scored and five doubles.

After beating Linganore with the homer, he came back to send the Lancers down to defeat (3-2) again with a one-out single to left in the 10th inning at Westminster.

One has to wonder how many home runs Bowers would have if Westminster's field had a left-field fence that was a normal distance from home plate. The fence is approximately 325 feet right down the line but immediately juts out to about 380 feet to left center.

That is why all of Bowers' home runs have come on the road.

"I'm surprised that I'm hitting this well as a junior," said Bowers. "The power is especially surprising. In past years, I didn't have this much power. I'm just looking for pitches down the middle of the plate and hitting the ball as hard as I can into holes somewhere. I love to hit."

His zest for hitting has helped him settle primarily into the DH role after starting the year in left field.

"Denny wasn't seeing the ball that well in the outfield, so we had his eyes checked and he needed glasses," said Rihard.

Bowers still wears the glasses when he is hitting "for psychological reasons."

"I don't mind being the DH," he said. "I'll play wherever the team needs me."

There is a possibility that Bowers will play some first base, and he already has pitched a five-hitter in a 9-1 victory over North Hagerstown. Bowers also got to pitch two innings in a 15-2 rout over Atholton.

"Everybody said I was throwing hard against North Hagerstown," he said. "I think I could be a good pitcher if I worked at it and developed a couple different pitches."

With Westminster's No. 2 pitcher Andy Marsiglia graduating this year, Bowers might get more of an opportunity to pitch next season.

However, he is content as long as they let him hit and considers baseball his No. 1 sport even though he has established himself as an outstanding two-way football player.

Last fall, Bowers was a first-team All-Carroll County selection as a defensive end and he had an outstanding season as a tight end.

In baseball, Bowers said the Owls took Liberty too lightly and it proved very costly in their first loss.

"I think we were overconfident against Liberty [5-4 loss] and then we were down the next day against South Carroll [5-4 setback]," he said. "But I believe we can win the rest of our games and end the season with a bang."

The Owls regrouped Tuesday for a 3-2 victory over Thomas Johnson to move into first place (5-2) in the Central Maryland Conference, and they are 11-2 with seven games left.

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