Athlete of the Week (May 14-19): Owen Bowers

Owen Bowers has been named the Daily Journal’s Athlete of the Week for the week of Monday, May 14.

Bowers is a senior catcher on the Richmond softball team who hit a total of three home runs in shutout wins over Lake Norman and Hickory Ridge, respectively, in the third and fourth rounds of the NCHSAA 4A State Playoffs last week.

She led off the bottom of the fourth inning against Lake Norman with a solo homer, which gave the Lady Raiders a six-run lead, and then came back to the plate — in that same inning — and launched a three-run shot over the fence to put them ahead 14-0. Four days later, versus Hickory Ridge, she cranked a two-runner in the bottom of the second.

“I was trying to be as aggressive as possible,” Bowers said. “I thought to myself … ‘I’m going to be on (top of) every pitch because that’s what has helped me.’ I just tried to hit on the barrel every time, catch it out in front so I can hit it hard.”

Ever since she was a freshman, Bowers has been one of Richmond’s strongest hitters. She and teammate Greyson Way, junior ace, entered the 2018 season tied atop of the program’s record books for most career home runs (22).

Throughout the regular season and the first two games of the conference tournament, however, Bowers hadn’t hit the long ball like she was able to in her previous years — only racking up four dingers in 22 games.

But she kept swinging and finally broke through with a solo shot against Jack Britt in the conference tournament championship game three weeks ago. Since then, Bowers has hit at least one home run in every game played.

Against Independence in the second round of the state playoffs, she hit two balls (scoring five runs total) out the park

“Other than the mechanical stuff with my swing, I think I’ve been more confident at the plate,” Bowers said. “I just have to have that mindset that I can beat (the pitcher) every time I’m up.”

Next up, Bowers — a Florida SouthWestern State College commit — and the No. 1 Lady Raiders will take on No. 2 South Caldwell in the Western Regional Finals. The first game, of the three-game series, will be played on Wednesday at Richmond.

“I hope we can do what we’ve been doing … We all want to win, so as long as we keep putting runs up I think we’ve got it,” Bowers added.