Bowen developing into solid starter for Absegami

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newbowen Bill LeConey/Absegami High School senior Brandon Bowen. HAMILTON TOWNSHP - Of all the great pitching performances at last weekend’s Al Hedelt Tournament at Oakcrest High School, Absegami's Brandon Bowen may have unveiled the best.

Bowen, a senior left-hander, overcame a shaky first inning to strike out eight Holy Spirit batters in a 6-0 quarterfinal victory on Saturday. Matt Ardente supported him with three RBIs, including a two-run homer. Matt Branco also had three hits and scored twice and Steve Hewa hit a solo home run as the Braves improved to 8-4 on the season.

Bowen said he was helped by an early 3-0 lead that allowed him to settle in.

“It makes pitching that much easier,” he said. “You’re not afraid to make mistakes, because if you’ve got nobody on base, you groove a fastball and it might be 3-1. Big deal - step up and make another pitch.”

Bowen struggled to a 1-4 record last year. This year, he has smoothed out his delivery, worked on his changeup as an “out” pitch, and developed into a perfect complement to No. 1 starter Ardente.

“He’s the No. 1, and that’s pretty much set in stone,” Bowen said of junior Ardente, who this week announced that he will attend Seton Hall University on a scholarship to play baseball. “But I want to beat him, I want to have a better record than him. That’s the goal, to have the best record on the team. You want to be the guy, you want everybody to come out to look at you, but it’s also about winning.”

“This whole team pushes each other,” said coach Brian Wastell. “Sometimes we have to dial them back because they are very competitive with each other, but they’ll be the first ones to pick each other up when something doesn’t go well. So that’s a nice mix of competitive and ‘pick-me-up.’”

gamibball2 Bill LeConey/Absegami's Matt Ardente hit a two-run homer to support teammate Brandon Bowen in last Saturday's 6-0 win over Holy Spirit.

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