Not every college signing is directly out of high school

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By Mike Farner

            SHEPHERDSVILLE - In a school year in which a record number of area high school athletes have signed to continue their careers at the next level, it should be noted that not all college signings are of high school seniors.

            Over the past couple of weeks, a pair of former local players have cast their lots with area baseball programs with both at least a year removed from high school.

            This summer, former North Bullitt baseball player Marcel Hull came out of ‘retirement’ and inked to play at Spalding University. At roughly the same time, former Bullitt East player Matt Bowles signed to play baseball for the next two seasons at Southern Indiana University after completing two seasons at John A. Logan College.

Marcel Hull

            After playing both basketball and baseball as a senior at North Bullitt two years ago, Marcel Hull thought it best to head to the University of Louisville and just be a student while in college.

            But the call of baseball was just too much. That, plus a fortunate break when North Bullitt assistant coach Scott Kelly got word that 

Spalding University, which fields a strong Division III program, was in need of outfielders. Kelly passed along the name of Hull to the Spalding staff and that got the ball rolling.

            Hull was happy at Louisville, but he missed baseball. It didn’t hurt any that his academic scores would provide enough financial aide to offset the fact that Spalding does not provide athletic scholarships.

            “I wanted to play, but I had a partial scholarship to Louisville,” Hull said after his Under-18 Blue Lick All-Star team had won the Babe Ruth Kentucky State Championship last week. “Money was part of it and now that is taken care of.”

            The son of Limil and Jean Hull is still undecided on a major in college, but he did say that all of his work over the past year at Louisville is transferring to Spalding. Hull does have an older brother, Adrian Fletcher, at the University of Louisville, while another brother, Gianni Hull, is in the military.

            Hull will join a Spalding program that is coming off a United States Collegiate Athletic Association National Championship season in which they posted a 32-11 record. The program just named a new head coach, Jeremy Sheetinger.

            Starting with this school year, Spalding will be a full member of the NCAA Division III and will play in the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Association.

Matt Bowles

            After being a standout middle infielder and pitcher for John A. Logan, a junior college located in Carterville, Illinois, former Bullitt East baseball player Matt Bowles recently signed to play for the next two years at Southern Indiana University in Evansville.

            Bowles, who is the son of long-time Bullitt East head coach Jeff Bowles, was a two-year starter for the Volunteers, one of the top community college baseball programs in the country.

            This past season, John A. Logan posted a 41-22 record, winning a second straight 24th Region title as well as winning the Great Rivers Athletic Conference title. Bowles was selected to the All-Conference baseball team this past season.

            After winning the 24th Region title, the Volunteers in each of the past two seasons then came up one game short of reaching the JUCO World Series. This past year, they were knocked out by eventual national champion Iowa Western in the Northern District final.

            Bowles also excelled in the classroom. This past school year, the 

National Junior College Athletic Association honored Bowles for ‘Superior Academic Achievement’, an award given to athletes posting a grade point average of 3.8 or better on a 4.0 scale. Bowles had a 3.9 GPA this past school year.

            As a freshman at John A. Logan, Bowles was a teammate with former Bullitt East player Zach McCarthy. The two were part of the Charger squad that reached the semi-finals of the Kentucky State Baseball Tournament in 2009. McCarthy played this last season at Mid-Continent University in Mayfield, Kentucky.