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Story Archives: Bowden returns to Vidalia mound
|Bowden returns to Vidalia mound|
Barry Bowden stepped on the mound at the Vidalia Adult Park Saturday for the first time since 2003 when he earned his second straight Class 2A Player of the Year honor.
But Bowden wasn't mowing down high school opponents. He was helping teach future high-schoolers at his first baseball camp in Vidalia.
"It was definitely different," Bowden said. "It had been a long time. It brought back a lot of memories."
Bowden was joined by former Southern Mississippi teammates Trey Sutton, Brian Dozier and Bo Davis and former Meridian Community College pitcher and assistant coach Christopher Rayborn, who runs Advance Sports in Natchez.
"I was definitely pleased," Bowden. "I think all the kids got something out of it and got to play ball. I know all the instructors enjoyed it.
Bowden started out the season with the Wilmington Blue Rocks, the high Class A team of the Kansas City Royals, before being shipped to triple-A Omaha.
He also spent time with Northwest Arkansas, the Royals' double-A team.
Bowden was a Third Team Baseball All-American at Southern Mississippi in 2008. He signed as a free agent with the Royals.
Dozier, who plays shortstop, was drafted by the Minnesota Twins in the 8th round of the 2009 MLB Draft.
Dozier was one of 19 non-roster players that the Twins invited to Spring Training.
Pitchers and catchers report to the Twins' Lee County Sports Complex in Fort Myers, Fla., on Feb. 17. Position players report on Feb. 22.
"I actually got the invite on Christmas Eve," Dozier said. "That was the best Christmas present I've ever gotten. One year in the Minor Leagues and to get a Big League invite is another stepping stone. I plan on getting down to Fort Myers early and getting my feet wet and try to adapt to it as much as possible so it won't be as big a shock catching ball with Big-Leaguers."
As for the camp, Dozier said he had a blast in his first visit to Vidalia.
"It was truly amazing," Dozier said. "I remember going to camps like that in my hometown (Fulton, Ms.) and that brought back memories of those days. The kids seem to open their ears more when they are talking to someone who is playing ball. I take a lot of pride being in that situation. Baseball is a great game and everyone deserves the chance to play. The looks on the kids' faces was really special for me."
Dozier said he enjoyed re-uniting with Bowden for the camp.
"Barry has a work ethic far beyond what people imagine," Dozier said. "His progression to becoming a dominating pitcher by the time he left USM was incredible. Our hitters got the tails chewed out when we played Louisiana-Monroe because he had a no-hitter going into the ninth and we couldn't score any runs. I had many players from around the conference tell me his change-up was the best they had ever seen and he was the best pitcher they faced. But what makes Barry so good is that he is never satisfied."
Sutton, a second baseman, was drafted out of Southern Miss by the San Francisco Giants in the 20th round of the 2008 MLB June Amateur Draft.
Davis, an outfielder, was drafted by the San Diego Padres in the 24th round of the draft.
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