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MOUNT WASHINGTON - A win-win situation. You can’t beat that.
That is what the Bowles family was saying recently when Bullitt East senior baseball standout Matt Bowles signed a national junior college letter-of-intent with John A. Logan college in Illinois.
In addition, it was a perfect father-coach-son day for the family as Bullitt East baseball coach Jeff Bowles looked on as his son signed on the dotted line.
But unlike most sports, Bowles still has a lot of options open about where he might play next season. Obviously, with a strong senior season he could conceivably be drafted by the pros. While that is not probable, he could shine enough to draw the attention of Division I and II programs and he is still free to sign with those type schools.
So, Bowles has one in the hand with the possibility of something better in the bushes still pending.
But John A. Logan is one of the top junior college programs in this part of the country. At that school, Bowles will join up with a teammate from last season, Zack McCarthy, who is getting ready to see his first college action soon.
This all worked out after it was thought to be a done deal that he was going to sign back in the fall with Western Kentucky University. As often happens in the scholarship game, Bowles was shuffled out at the last minute.
“We had bigger aspirations out of high school, but the situation didn’t work out,” the player said after signing all the papers in front of the school’s baseball trophy case. “The junior college route started looking like a route to take. We took some visits and John Logan was a good fit for me.”
McCarthy put on a little recruiting push when he learned that Bowles was looking at other schools.
“He had tons of good things to say about it,” the younger Bowles said of the college. “He has only been home twice because he likes it so much up there.”
(McCarthy was injured in the fall and did not play in the short season. He is ready to play in the main season that starts soon.)
While Bowles has had banner high school seasons since starting as a freshman at Bullitt East, John A. Logan first saw him play on the summer circuit where in plays for the Central Kentucky Comets, a team coached by Roger Robinson. It was Robinson who first made contact with John Logan about Bowles.
Bowles was the starting quarterback for Bullitt East the past three seasons in football including as a junior when he helped the team reach the Class 4-A State Championship Game. There was some talk with schools with perhaps him doing some punting, but baseball was the first option.
Obviously, when your father is also your head coach in baseball (as well as the football team’s offensive coordinator up through your junior season), you have a family that spends a great deal of time together. Jeff and Nancy Bowles push both athletics and academics as Matt has a 4.0 grade point average.
Matt also has two brothers. Older brother Michael Fox played both baseball and football at Bullitt East and his younger brother, Jacob, who is a seventh-grader at Mount Washington Middle School, will soon be playing sports at Bullitt East.
The strong family also stretches to his grandparents who were at the signing and also see most of his games.
In college, Bowles hopes to major in either sports management or finance. He has given some thought to also coaching, either at the high school or college level.
For Jeff Bowles, the signing was a big day from two angles - father and coach.
“It was both,” he said later. “Both of them I’m proud over. The dad is relieved.”
At Bullitt East, Bowles is one of the area’s top pitchers as well as a strong shortstop and lead-off hitter. Still, he says that John Logan is looking at him more as a middle infielder with him pitching only some in relief.
“It’s OK with me,” the 18-year old senior said concentrating more on playing the field and hitting. “Over the last four years I’ve pitched a lot, but colleges have told me that I need to hit. If I can throw that would be a nice addition.”
During his junior season, when Bullitt East reached the state baseball semi-finals, Bowles was second on the team in hitting with a .412 average with 56 hits and 53 runs scored. He was also second on the team with 15 stolen bases.
On the mound, Bowles posted a 10-2 record with a 2.31 ERA. In 76 innings of work he recorded 80 strike-outs.