He hits major opponent hard

Baseball: Wilde Lake's Kevin Showe, who has learning disabilities, has taken a winning attitude from the field and transferred it to the classroom.

High Schools

May 13, 2004|By Rick Belz | Rick Belz,SUN STAFF

Kevin Showe's world didn't end after he was diagnosed with learning disabilities.

Sure, the Wilde Lake baseball player had to work harder than the average student, and sure he's needed some extra help and understanding from his teachers, but his own hard work has produced the results he always dreamed of.

He has been accepted at Greensboro College in North Carolina, and he'll play baseball at the Division III school that has a special program for students with such disabilities.

"I really wanted to go to college and to show people that I can get it," Showe said. "Every time I do well, I'm really happy because some people don't think you can do well. My grades are the most important thing to me."

His first disability was discovered by a teacher when he was a fourth-grader, and is a form of dyslexia, making reading more difficult.

The second disability, not discovered until he was tested by Greensboro in March, involves speech. Words and sounds get mixed up and he sometimes can't find the right word to express something.

"I don't like reading out loud in class," he said.

Showe performs better in small classes, and that's the main reason he's going to Greensboro instead of a larger institution.

"In elementary school, we had five people in my classes and the teachers really worked with you," Showe said. "I feel lucky to have gotten that kind of help."

He attended Worthington Elementary School and Ellicott Mills Middle School.

"My teachers showed a lot of faith in me and knew I could do the work," he said.

In an effort to smooth the transition to college, he'll attend Howard Community College this summer so that when he arrives at Greensboro, he won't have to assume a full six-class freshman schedule, but will take four courses.

Showe, whose uncle had a similar disability, estimates it takes him 15 minutes longer to do the same assignment as other students.

He doesn't try to conceal his disabilities and is not uncomfortable with them.

"My friends know about it," he said.

Wildecats baseball coach Don Storr said Showe sometimes makes quips about his disabilities to him.

"He's not overly public about it, but he's not shy about it, either," Storr said.

Showe's intensified work habits in the classroom have carried over to the field.

"My learning disability has made me a better athlete," he said. "I work harder in class and harder in sports because I was always told I'd have to work harder to get into college."

Showe carries a 3.3 grade point average, but he has difficulty taking tests with long written portions, such as the SAT. In high school, he sometimes receives oral exams instead of written ones, especially for courses such as Latin.

Athletically, he was an outstanding three-point shooter for Wilde Lake's basketball team, and plays the outfield, shortstop and pitches for its baseball team.

"You would never look at him and say he has a disability," Storr said. "You don't have to problem-solve on the athletic field; you react. And his reaction time is not affected. He's very athletic, a four-year player and will be tough to replace. His best position is probably shortstop."

Showe recently pitched a 1-0 victory over Howard and knocked in the lone run. He also threw a no-hitter for 5 1/3 innings against Hammond before leaving with a 2-1 lead.

"The only team that clobbered me this season was Glenelg," he said.

He throws a knuckleball, changeup, curveball and fastball.

His father, Tom Showe, a former Centennial baseball coach, coached him for 10 years in the Howard County youth program.

"The doctors told us the reason he's doing so well is that sports keep him focused and motivated," said his father. "He's not afraid to ask for help and gets upset when his grades aren't up."

Showe attracted attention as a pitcher at a five-day camp at Duke last summer, where his best fastball reached 89 mph. That's where the Greensboro coach saw him.

Showe said he received a letter from six of the seven scouts in attendance - all but the one from Duke.

He prefers hitting to pitching. And Greensboro will allow him to play the outfield whenever he's not pitching.

Showe's happy about the idea that he'll play as a college freshman and not redshirt as he probably would do at a Division I school.

He's batting .446 (29-for-65) this year, with three home runs, three doubles and 17 RBIs, and has a 1.56 ERA with a 2-3 pitching record that includes one save and 36 strikeouts in 35 1/3 innings. Last year, he batted .344.

Wilde Lake (10-10 overall, 8-9 league) had high expectations coming into this season, but has not realized them.

"I'm a little disappointed," Showe said. "What hurts us is our fielding. One inning in every game it seems we make errors, and then the pitcher feels he needs to strike everyone out."

His goal now is for the team to be successful in the playoffs that will begin Monday at Mount Hebron.

"We've never won two playoff games," he said.

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