When Josh Stowers steps to the plate, opponents aren’t expecting the junior to bunt.
At 6-feet, 190 pounds, Stowers has the appearance and strength to hit the ball a country mile. However, he also boasts tremendous speed.
Which is why Stowers, a Louisville recruit, worked on his bunting during the offseason — to take advantage of another physical attribute.
That thinking paid off handsomely on Thursday against Marian Catholic.
With the game tied 2-2 in the bottom of the sixth inning, Stowers reached on a perfect bunt single and moments later, after a double by A.J. Lewis, scored on a sacrifice fly by Nick Wheeler to lift host Mount Carmel to a 3-2 win.
“I wanted to use my speed and I saw the third baseman playing back,” Stowers said.
“I worked a lot during the offseason on my bunting. Opponents don’t expect me to bunt — that’s why I like to do it.”
It was Stowers fourth bunt single of the young season.
“He did that on his own,” said Mount Carmel coach Brian Hurry of laying down the bunt. “With his speed, that’s got to be a part of his game.”
Marian Catholic coach Phil Wail admitted he didn’t expect Stowers to bunt.
“Not the size of a kid like that,” Wail said. “It’s all about getting on base, which he did.”
The Caravan (7-2) took advantage of three consecutive walks by Marian pitcher Bryce Hennessy after Stowers had singled to grab a 1-0 lead.
Chris Baker (2-for-3) was able to get that run right back in the top of the third for the Spartans (6-5) when he homered over the center field fence off starter Richard Fordon. It could have been a more productive inning for Marian, but Caravan left fielder Greg Ploszaj gunned down Matt Clary at the plate.
“That was a great throw by Greg,” Hurry said.
Mount Carmel regained the lead in its half of the third when Dave Dobrinich walked and scored on a double by Malik Carpenter for a 2-1 advantage.
Marian, however, plated the equalizer in the fifth. Baker laid down a beautiful bunt, despite being down 0-2 in the count, for a single and scored on a sac fly by Chris Austin. Fordon limited additional damage that inning by picking a runner off second base.
“They took advantage in the second inning and our three walks,” Wail said.
Hennessy allowed five hits, walked four and struck out three over six innings.
Fordon, a Northwestern recruit, scattered five hits, hit two batters and struck out one. Dobrinich recorded the save, while stranding two runners.