April 18, 2013 in Sports

Meads counts on McGowan as jack of all trades

By The Spokesman-Review
 
Jesse Tinsley photoBuy this photo

Mead’s Jordan McGowan, tagging out Mt. Spokane’s Tanner Conroy, is learning to play catcher for the first time since sixth grade.
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If there were a baseball equivalent to those handyman shows that proliferate on cable television, senior Jordan McGowan would be a natural as the do-it-yourself host.

McGowan has played nearly every position during his career at Mead, last year as an All-Greater Spokane League outfielder and part-time pitcher for the Panthers while finishing seventh in league batting.

This season he’s been the battery, played every infield position except shortstop and had a 3-0 pitching record, with 21 strikeouts and a 0.81 earned-run average, before suffering a 7-4 defeat Tuesday as Mt. Spokane evened their season series.

“He’s willing to do what we need,” Mead coach Jason Reich said. “Last year we needed him in the outfield and he did a great job.

“This year we were in need of catchers, pitchers and stuff. He just wants to play the game.”

Although Community Colleges of Spokane wants him as an outfielder-pitcher, last Friday he looked polished behind the plate and displayed a rocket arm.

He hadn’t played the position since he was younger, but was thrust into it when all-leaguer Dane Crater underwent knee surgery. He’s been happy with his performance and has come to love the position.

“I caught until the sixth grade and then I stopped because Dane Crater came to town. He’s an all-star,” McGowan said. “My dad was a catcher, my mom caught in softball and my sister caught a couple of years ago, so I guess catching just runs in the family.”

A one-sport athlete, McGowan said he has played the game as long as he can remember.

He was coached first by his father, Mark, and most recently on the traveling Spokane Baseball Club.

His season begins in February with the Panthers, carries over into the summer with multiple tournaments and ends in the fall when he hones his hitting.

Last season McGowan hit .391 with five doubles and led the league in runs batted in with 18.

He entered this week with a .538 batting average and 13 RBIs.

“We noticed as a freshman he was one of the special kids in a group that had talent,” Reich said. “Going into this year we viewed him as one of our essential cogs.”

What defines him as a pitcher is his tenacity, Reich said. He’s not afraid to challenge a hitter and does so primarily with a two-seam fastball that McGowan said was once clocked between 83 and 86 mph.

He also has a slider, change and curveball.

The Wildcats roughed him up during a 12-hit barrage that nearly doubled his season total allowed.

He bats fourth and gets his money’s worth, as someone who can hit with power or average.

“When he swings, there’s not a lot of holding back,” Reich said. “He nearly falls over.”

McGowan has been approached by a couple of Division III teams, but his dream is to one day play Division I. That’s why he chose to attend CCS.

“I have a better chance of doing that if I go to the Falls,” he said.

The idea is to get bigger, stronger and refine his game.

Meanwhile, with his final GSL season into its last three weeks, he’ll continue to be a jack of all trades while indulging his passion.

“I like playing multiple positions,” McGowan said. “I’ll play where the coaches need me to.”

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