Bowman to play in Area Code Games All-Star game
Willie Bowman played so well at the prestigious Area Code Games that he didn’t even need to play his team’s last game to earn a spot on the All-Star team.
The Carson High senior went 4-for-8 with a triple and four RBI in four games this week for the Cleveland Indians, whose final game is today at 9 a.m. in Long Beach, Calif. But apparently Bowman didn’t need a last chance to prove himself.
After Cleveland’s game on Friday against the Milwaukee Brewers (Grey), his coach informed him that he was picked to play in today’s Nike All-Star game along with two other Cleveland players, a pitcher and an outfielder.
“It’s pretty sweet,” said Bowman, who played his natural third base position the entire week. “It’s definitely not something I expected. I didn’t really expect to be here, really. There’s some legit guys here, that’s for sure. It seems like every pitcher down here is hitting 90 and a few guys are hitting 93 and 94 consistently.”
The eight teams competing at the Area Code Games all use wood bats. Of the 200 players participating in the event, a total of just 36 are selected to play for the two all-star teams. Bowman becomes the second Northern Nevadan in the past three years to play in the all-star game. In 2000, Galena High’s Billy Paganetti also did, which then established his reputation as one of the best high-school aged players in the country.
Cleveland, which is 3-1 going into its final game today, is made up of players from New Mexico, Nevada, Arizona, Utah and Colorado. Bowman was selected to the 25-man team after a tryout last month at Chandler-Gilbert Community College in the Phoenix area. Fifteen of the team’s players were chosen at that tryout. The other 10 were chosen at another tryout in Salt Lake City.
“I’ll tell you what, that’s pretty big time,” Carson High coach Ron McNutt said of Bowman’s achievement. “That’s a pretty big deal. It’s a great showcase. It’s probably one of the best showcase tournaments in the country for high school kids.”
Over 400 professional scouts attend the event. Bowman said before this week he had received more two dozen letters from various colleges. Clemson, Wake Forest, Nebraska and UNLV have shown the most recruiting interest. Regardless of which new college comes calling because of his performance at the Area Code Games, Bowman still expects to sign with UNLV.
“That’s where I’m going to go. I might look at other options but I don’t know why I would. Vegas has everything that I want. It’s close to home and they finished up 15th in the nation last year. So it’s a pretty good program.”
If Bowman signs with the Rebels, he would become the sixth Carson High player coached by McNutt to do so. Bowman would join a list that includes five-time MLB all star Matt Williams, Mike Pintar, Donovan Osborne, Bob Ayrault and Nate Yeskie.