Kit Fowler flattening out his rocky road in baseball
Marco Island’s Kit Fowler decided to forgo his senior year as the Lely High starting quarterback to concentrate on baseball for 2012.
It appeared to be the right decision as he mowed down batters, shutting out Lehigh, Riverdale and the potent Barron Collier Cougars. No one could even remember when Lely last stifled the Cougars big bats. He led the Trojans into the district playoffs for the first time in 15 years.
He made first-team Naples Daily News All-Area and Collier County Athletic All-Conference.
Fowler starred in the prestigious Bartley’s Baseball Senior All-Star Game, throwing two perfect innings at the City of Palms Park, former spring training home for the Boston Red Sox.
Now would come the college offers. But they didn’t.
“Where I made my mistake was thinking that playing high school baseball would get me recognized,” Fowler said. “Instead of playing football the summer before my senior year I should have gotten onto a travel team for more exposure. I jumped on the scene late.”
As the summer waned Fowler took a walk-on spot with the St. Petersburg Junior College Titans. Once a strong Sun Coast Conference foe, and champion in 2005, the Titans have fallen on hard times.
In 2013 the team ended the season seven games under ,500, but this time they had a lot of freshmen, like Fowler, who have potential.
“Coach (Ryan Beckman) said we have a good recruiting class coming in and is very confident we can be competitive with the top teams in the conference,” Fowler said.
A starting pitcher in high school and summer ball, Fowler went to the Titans bullpen. As a pitcher he also had to give up hitting, a quality that stood him well in high school.
“My parents were a little upset about not being able to bat, but it is what it is,” Fowler said. “Pitching is my strong suit and I keep on working where my strength is.”
Early on, learning how to prepare to pitch out of the bullpen wasn’t easy.
“Coming in from the bullpen was a huge adjustment,” he said. “When you are a starter you prepare to pitch six-seven innings. As a reliever you prepare to come in and throw one inning, usually with the game on the line and you never know for sure when.”
In his early outings his earned-run-average ballooned to 4.9, losing three games as a reliever,
“After 8-10 appearances I got into a better groove,” he said. It led the coaches to making him a starting pitcher where he went 2-3.
In the second annual Clearwater Mayor’s Cup, Fowler went the distance, downing Clearwater Christian College. He was named MVP.
Fowler lowered his ERA for in-conference play to 3.2.
This summer Fowler will again play for Team IMPACT of Naples. In his first start at the Perfect Game Tournament last week in Fort Myers he was two outs away from a no-hitter until an infield single ended Fowler’s bid. He struck out 10 batters in the impressive win.
For a young pitcher, just turned 19, Fowler has command of four pitches, including fast ball, slider, change up and curve ball.
Team IMPACT coach Joe Cali said Fowler’s college experience will help the team as they play in the prospectwire.com tournament in Sarasota this weekend. Fowler pitches at 7 p.m. on Saturday at Buck Field.
“This team is built for playoff runs and championships and we are excited to have Kit,” Cali said. “His fast ball comes in consistently at 88 mph. He has great mound presence. He is a great athlete who can make plays to help himself.”
What lies ahead for Fowler?
“The level of the competition we (St. Petersburg) face is very good,” he said. “The speed of the game is something I am more accustomed to now.”
Playing on a very strong Team IMPACT team this summer, Fowler expects there will be exposure to a number of four-year schools, as there will be with St. Petersburg next season.
“Often scouts come to see a player and find others,” Fowler said. “I want to be one of the guys that gets on their radar.”