Ben Bowden is a Real Pro:Colorado Selects Former English Star in Major League Draft

By Joyce Erekson

What a rollercoaster of a ride it has been for Lynn’s Ben Bowden the last couple of weeks.

From the highs of seeing his Vanderbilt University baseball team qualify for the NCAA Div. 1 Regionals, to the lows of mourning the loss of a teammate in a tragic drowning accident and then a few days later seeing his lifelong dream of playing professional baseball become a reality – Bowden has had quite a June.

The former Lynn English star, selected 45th overall by the Colorado Rockies in the Major League Baseball draft a week ago, hopped a plane to Denver Tuesday morning where he was scheduled to spend three days before heading back East where he’ll joing his new team, the long season Class A affiliate Ashville  (North Carolina) Tourists.

“Obviously draft day was something special,” Bowden said. “I flew in from Nashville (home of Vandervilt University) the same day and got home just in time to eat and watch the draft. We had a bunch of family over. It was pretty cool. You get picked. Everyone goes crazy and there’s lots of pictures.”

Bowden got a chance to spend a few days at home, catching up with family and friends and even fishing with his father, Larry Bowden. The 6-4, 225 pound lefty also took time out to visit with the East Lynn Little League All-Star team (he was an East Lynn LL All-Star back in the day).

Bowden said he’s extremely grateful to all the people, especially his family,  who sacrificed to help him realize his dream.

“I think about all the money my parents spent (on baseball). We lost family vacations to baseball and my sisters (Jillian and Jackie) kind of rolled along with everything while I lived out a dream,” Bowden said. “I was just the one throwing the baseball.”

The Commodores didn’t get past the Regionals, but baseball was the last thing on anyone’s mind that weekend. The day before the Regionals started, Vanderbilt freshman pitcher Donny Everett drown.

“Losing Donny the day before the  Regionals was so tough. We (the team) are such a tight-knit family. It was like losing a family member. You spend every day with a kid and suddenly he was gone,” Bowden said.

Bowden said when his coach talked to the team after it was eliminated, he told the players they didn’t lose to Washington, or Xavier.

“He told us we lost to grief,” Bowden said. “It was something we weren’t ready to handle. We didn’t know how to handle it. We felt so bad for his parents and his family … You prepare so much for baseball, but you don’t prepare for this.”

Bowden said the experience puts life into perspective.

“You hear all the time, don’t take this for granted. Don’t take that for granted. You don’t really understand until somebody doing the same thing as you all of a sudden is gone. He doesn’t get to experience what we’re experiencing..”

Although getting drafted was a huge step, Bowden knows it’s only the beginning.

“You work your entire life to get where you’re at, but you still have a long, long road ahead,” he said.

Bowden went 2-1 this season with a 3.51 earned run average and a team-high 10 saves. Bowden started five games and appeared in another 19. When he made the move to the bullpen in March, he didn’t allow a run in his first 10 appearances (13.1 innings).He had six saves during that stretch. Bowden was a reliever last summer when he played in the Cape Cod League. He allowed only one run and struck out 43 in  30 innings. He was the co-MVP in the playoffs.

Former Lynn English baseball star Ben Bowden celebrates his selection in the Major League Draft with his proud parents Stephanie and Larry Bowden, and his sisters, Jillian and Jackie Bowden.

Former Lynn English baseball star Ben Bowden celebrates his selection in the Major League Draft with his proud parents Stephanie and Larry Bowden, and his sisters, Jillian and Jackie Bowden.

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