Player of the Year: Lowe reaches great highs as spark of title-clinching team
by Adam Carrington
acarrington@mdjonline.com
June 09, 2013 12:16 AM | 2348 views | 1 1 comments | 32 32 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Nathaniel Lowe
<Br>Staff photo by Kelly J. Huff
Nathaniel Lowe
Staff photo by Kelly J. Huff
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Nathaniel Lowe came to the plate more than 100 times this season and struck out a mere 12 times.

The Pope senior finished the season batting .469 and set several team records with 12 home runs, 51 RBIs, 53 hits, 47 runs scored, 33 walks and 19 doubles.

Clutch at the plate for the Greyhounds throughout the regular season, Lowe stepped up another notch during the postseason. His bat played a pivotal role in helping Pope secure their second Class AAAAA state championship in a four-year span.

Lowe also helped Pope get out of a couple of postseason jams.

“I guess when you go up there, you can’t think about the situation,” said Lowe, the 2013 Marietta Daily Journal/Cobb County Baseball Player of the Year. “You just stick with your approach.”

Coaches have admired Lowe’s discipline at the plate, with hitting coach Chris Turco saying earlier in the season that he “probably teaches us stuff.”

One of Lowe’s primary strengths when he steps inside the batter’s box is waiting for the right pitch. He was also taught early on to shorten his strength when facing two strikes, and can use his two-strike swing as a weapon.

“He’s had a great year from the start and set just about every record we had offensively,” Pope coach Jeff Rowland said. “He has just a great approach and great hand-eye coordination.”

Having played his final game as a Greyhound, Lowe’s baseball future is uncertain. He’s yet to make a commitment to play in college, though Lowe has said he’s drawn interest from teams in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Lowe is also one of the few who can say they ended their high school career with a state championship.

“It’s just amazing,” he said of being able to get through the obstacles to win a state title. “It’s more of a relief because, when we got past the second round, we weren’t going to come up short again. No reason this team should stop here. We’re better than that.”

After Pope came up short in the state quarterfinals each of the previous two seasons, it faced a Game 3 situation in this year’s round of eight against Evans.

Instead of Lowe’s hitting, it was his work on the mound that helped keep the Greyhounds in the series. He gave up just two runs in six innings and was scoreless in his final four. He also gave up just six hits and had two strikeouts while getting plenty of run support as Pope defeated Evans 12-2 to secure the series.

“It was more of a trust thing,” Lowe said. “We figured we needed to push earlier in the game.”

Pope faced more pressure in the semifinals against Starr’s Mill after losing the opening game 14-0. Lowe helped the Greyhounds save their season with a three-run home run that that gave the team an early five-run lead, before it held on to win 9-7.

In the deciding game, after Pope endured a lightning delay, the Greyhounds found themselves in extra innings with the season on the line, and Lowe came through with a walk-off double to send Pope into the championship series.

“I wish we had him for another two or three years,” Rowland said.

Lowe’s final series as a Greyhound resulted in a walk-off grand slam in the bottom of the eighth inning of the opening game with Greenbrier. He then helped the Pope offense coast to a 15-5 win in Game 2 that clinched the state title.

“It was nice to get it done in that fashion.” Lowe said.
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Joe Wiseman
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June 09, 2013
Congratulations Nate on a great year!
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