EAST BRIDGEWATER - Surrounded by a group of more than 20 friends and family, East Bridgewater’s Mike Dowd got word that the Arizona Diamondbacks were considering taking him with either their sixth- or seventh-round choice in Tuesday’s Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft.
The picks came and went, and the names of other players, not the Franklin Pierce University standout catcher Dowd, were called.
“Those picks went by and I was like ‘What’s going to happen now? Am I going to slide? How far am I going to slide?’” said Dowd.
Dowd, who’d heard other whispers that teams had him pegged for a selection between Rounds 8 and 10, eagerly waited as each of those rounds finished without mention of his name.
“I ended up going into another room and just sitting by myself because I was so anxious waiting for my name” he said.
When the Seattle Mariners announced their 12th-round selection, Dowd, and everyone at his house, finally got what they were waiting for.
“I heard my name from the other room and everyone was going wild,” he said.
Dowd, a four-time Catholic Central All-Star while at Cardinal Spellman, where he was a career .367 hitter who swatted 18 homers as a four-year starter, had mixed indications that it would be the Mariners calling his name.
“That’s probably the No. 1 team that’s shown interest. They’ve shown interest from the start. I’ve worked out for them. I know their area scout really well and they have a history with Franklin Pierce guys (including drafting Plymouth’s Scott Savastano in 2009),” said Dowd, who was left wondering after an earlier pick Seattle made on the day.
Added Dowd: “They took a college catcher in the fourth round, so I was like ‘They might not be the team taking me today.’”
Said Franklin Pierce baseball coach Jayson King: “I think he did really well for himself (getting drafted in the 12th round). He’s had a really good career up here at Pierce and I’m just happy for him.”
That good career saw Dowd twice named an All-American, amassing a .341 batting average and playing in 167 of the team’s 170 games, with them winning 120 of them while he was on campus.
He led the Ravens to three NCAA tournament appearances, including a second-place finish at last year’s Division 2 College World Series. He swatted 16 career home runs for the Ravens and if he signs, will leave the school in the top 10 all-time in runs (127), RBI (113) and hits (219) despite leaving a year of eligibility on the table.
Those numbers only tell the beginning of the Mike Dowd story at Franklin Pierce.
“Offensively, obviously, he’s been good, but there are a lot of guys that can hit,” said King. “Defensively, he’s been the glue of our team the last three years. Without him we’re not even close to the team that we have been.”
The American Baseball Coaches Association agreed, tabbing Dowd a Rawlings East Region Gold Glove honoree for the second consecutive season this year.
It was the combination of his bat and glove work together that led to the Mariners to use pick No. 363 in Tuesday’s draft on the 5'8" catcher, fulfilling a dream for which he had longed.
“It’s every kid’s dream,” said Dowd on being drafted. “Every kid that’s really into baseball wants to play high school baseball and wants to play college baseball. They have that dream that they want to play at the next level.”
And for the East Bridgewater native, the only thing standing between him and realizing the dream that is the next level is hammering out a contract with Seattle.
Said Dowd: “I’m hoping it comes in the next two weeks. I’m ready to get out there and compete.”