Being named Indiana Mr. Baseball isn’t easy, just like hitting .365 with an on base percentage higher than .500 doesn’t just happen. Neither is being drafted by the San ?Diego Padres.
So when the Lafayette, Ind., native decided to stay in Indiana and play at IU instead of Lemonis’ Louisville team, Lemonis was understandably disappointed.
But then Lemonis became the coach at IU, giving him the opportunity to coach Sowers.
“He’s athletic, and he has a really good makeup about him — a really mature kid for a freshman,” Lemonis said.
Lemonis said he knew ?before Sowers arrived on campus in the fall that he was a special talent. It’s hard not to see it.
But what sets Sowers apart from other talented freshmen, Lemonis said, is his maturity.
“There’s a ton of skilled freshmen in the country, but the makeup side to be able to jump out there and play and handle the pressures of this level of baseball is the difference,” Lemonis said.
Sowers has started every game this season in the outfield, the last two in left field. The 6-foot-4 Sowers isn’t just a talented hitter, he’s also one of IU’s better defenders, ?Lemonis said.
After his defensive play last weekend against the College of Charleston, Sowers was awarded the defense shirt by the coaching staff. The shirt, bright yellow with the phrase “Defense Wins ?championships” on the back, is given out every week to whom the coaches believe played the best defense.
But the strongest part of Sowers’ game is still what he does as a hitter.
So far this season, Sowers is batting .303 with a .455 slugging percentage. He also is tied for the team lead with three doubles and four extra base hits with junior shortstop Nick Ramos.
But Sowers is still trying to improve. That’s why he chose to attend IU instead of sign with the Padres. He cited Kyle Schwarber and Sam Travis as players who went to IU and improved.
Lemonis said he thinks Sowers isn’t close to as good as he can be.
Sowers has yet to hit a home run, but Lemonis attributes that to the cold weather more than anything. The ?colder the weather, the harder it is to generate power. Excluding the opening weekend at Stanford, Lemonis said the average temperature IU has played in this season sits around 30 ?degrees.
Sowers is a rare case. He has started every game hitting fifth.
Normally there is an adjustment period all freshmen go through, which Sowers said he is still going through.
He said he’s still getting used to the level of pitching at the college level. It’s not harder than he expected, but still difficult.
Once he fully adjusts, he might be the next in line of great IU hitters.
“He’s not even scratching the surface offensively right now and he’s still one of the better players out there,” ?Lemonis said.
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