Pope slugger Lowe experiencing highs that defy his name
by Adam Carrington
March 20, 2013 12:46 AM | 3483 views | 0 0 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print
With hits in more than half of his at-bats, and county-best totals in home runs and RBIs, Nathaniel Lowe is in the midst of a highlight-laden junior season for Pope.
<Br>Staff file photo
With hits in more than half of his at-bats, and county-best totals in home runs and RBIs, Nathaniel Lowe is in the midst of a highlight-laden junior season for Pope.
Staff file photo
What Nathaniel Lowe manages to do at the plate day after day impresses even his coaches.

The Pope junior third baseman had a .591 batting average through the first 10 games of the season, was tied for the Cobb County lead with 14 RBIs and led the county in home runs with five.

“The guy’s good,” Pope hitting coach Chris Turco said. “He probably teaches us stuff, to be honest with you. He might have better vision than everyone else. I’m not sure.”

Lowe had two home runs and three RBIs in an 11-0 win over Forsyth Central last Wednesday, and he was 2-for-2 with a double in Pope’s 16-1 win over Northview on Friday. Lowe also had a two-run home run and another three RBIs in Pope’s 9-8 loss to Dunwoody.

When it comes to making contact with the ball, Lowe said it’s all mental. Having always been fond of hitting ever since he began playing baseball at the age of 5, he’s picked up advice from different coaches on how he should handle himself mentally every time he comes up to the plate.

He was taught to believe in himself every time he steps into the hitter’s box, no matter the circumstances.

“He always has a plan when he gets to the plate,” Pope coach Jeff Rowland said. “He’s in a groove right now. He’s barreling everything. He’s one of the top hitters we’ve ever had here.

“It’s fun to watch his work pay off. He knows the strike zone. He knows what pitches he can hit and what he can’t hit.”

Pope, which has been a strong hitting team over the last decade, puts emphasis on the mental approach when working with its hitters.

In working with Lowe and the Greyhounds’ other top hitters, Turco talks about first-pitch and two-strike approaches. During the two-strike approach, Pope’s batters are taught to wait longer and shorten their swing, and Turco said Lowe’s two-strike swing is one of his many strengths.

Pope’s batters also focus on eye patterns.

In one drill the team often uses in batting practice, the pitcher uses colored baseballs, and the batter has to yell out the color before making contact. Turco said hitters usually shout the color either after the ball is released from the pitcher’s hands or after they swing.

The left-handed Lowe says he can identify the color before the ball is released, which means he can see the ball well and anticipate the pitches that are being thrown at him.

“A lot of pitchers do different things when they throw different pitches,” Lowe said. “When you’re looking for a fastball, and they’re doing something different with their delivery, it’s probably a different pitch.”

As solid as he is offensively, Lowe, who also pitches for Pope, would be the first to admit there is still room for improvement.

A member of the East Cobb Yankees’ under-18 travel team during the offseason, Lowe said he’s still working on his patience and “staying within himself” at the plate.

“I don’t have to swing hard as I can every time for the ball to carry,” he said. “Eventually, I’m going to get the pitch that I want, or the pitcher is going to make a mistake.”
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