Jeremy Sowers is a junior lefty at Vanderbilt, who chose to pitch for the Commodores despite being the 20th overall pick out of high school by the Cincinnati Reds. Regarded as one of the elite pitchers in the country, Sowers went 7-5 with a 2.50 ERA in 115 innings with 123 strikeouts and 29 walks as a sophomore, going 7-0 with a 2.11 ERA in his last nine starts. A native of St. Clairsville, Ohio, Sowers has a twin brother – Josh – who is a right-hander at Yale. Jeremy will provide a look at Vandy’s quest to reach the NCAA tournament and the ever-tough SEC throughout the season.



May 24, 2004

A Fond Farewell


UK Weekend (May 21-23)


Going into this weekend, we control our own fate.


We hold onto a spot in the SEC tournament by two games, so if we win our games versus UK, we’re a lock. However, UK is a team playing with nothing to lose, so they can be very dangerous. Although their pitching has struggled most of the year, they hit the ball as good as anyone in the conference. For the next three games we have to put everything together: hitting, pitching, and defense.


This will also be (most likely) the last three games at home all year. For our seniors, it will be their last home weekend, and we need to give them something to remember.


On a different note, after the Alabama weekend, in my journal I complained about the effects of Long John Silver’s on the stomach. A few days ago, I received a letter from one of my former high school coaches, Scott Geiser. Apparently, he works in public relations for the parent company of LJS’s. In an e-mail, he made me understand that it was obviously "all in my head" that the greasy fish fillets of LJS’s could’ve made my stomach ache on game day. After considering his argument, I have decided to agree, and I wish to apologize to anyone in the LJS’s corporation that I may have offended. LJS’s offers great food at competitive prices, and I would recommend it to anyone. I hope this clears any confusion. (Note: I’m not being serious, I honestly believe my coach was exaggerating, but I’ll play the game for the purpose of a laugh.)


Friday, May 21


Today, I struggled to find space on the pass list for family and friends coming to watch the game. My parents will be there, along with my Uncle Bill, cousin Mike, my twin brother Josh, his girlfriend Kim, my former teammates Justin and Brett (also his former stepdad Jon), my friends David and Mike McGee. I also became aware that my former high school coaches - Geiser, Brown and Hash - were going to be in attendance. Since I was pitching against former teammate, UK 2B Spencer Graeter, they figured they could kill two birds with one stone.


Tonight’s pitching match-up is straight from an old high school sectional game. When we were juniors, UK’s starter, Craig Snipp, and I faced each other in the finals of the state sectionals (one game away from Final Four). Thanks to a flare down the right-field line and an OF assist to throw out a runner at the plate, my team won 1-0. At the time, it was the most important game for my high school, since we had never been past the sectionals.


Anyway, I stayed in bed until noon today. The game wasn’t until 7 p.m., so I saw no point in waking up early. Around noon, I headed out to run a couple errands (bank, gas, lunch).


At roughly 1 p.m., my girlfriend called me, frustrated about the four-hour epic (Lawrence of Arabia) they were watching for her Maymester class. I still needed to pick up my mail, so I agreed to meet Ashley outside her classroom on campus. After I picked her up, we went to her apartment to relax and a couple hours before I needed to be over the field. Somehow I found myself watching General Hospital and realizing how brutally funny soap operas are.


Eventually the time came, and I headed over to the locker room. I polished my shoes, got dressed, ran around a bit in the OF, watched UK take batting practice and drank a smoothie. Forty-five minutes before the game, I began stretching and throwing, ready to take the mound. Tonight I knew could be the last time I ever pitch at Hawkins Field, so I knew the importance of the game. In addition, a win would tie Vandy’s record for wins in a season, and also nearly ensure postseason play. All this provided extra excitement, and I knew tonight was going to be a fun game.


In the first three innings, our offense put up seven runs. When this happens, all a pitcher has to do is throw strikes and get outs. I threw 7.2 innings, and when I left the game, we were winning 9-1. Coach Corbin purposely took me out in the middle of an inning so I could get a standing ovation from the crowd (apparently my mom was crying). After three years of pitching at Vanderbilt, the ovation may be one of the most memorable moments.


Our team has come a long way in three years, and the fan support has more than doubled. I couldn’t have imagined a better way to end my career at Hawkins Field.


Saturday, May 22


Last night, Auburn got beat by Arkansas, so we were guaranteed a spot in the tournament. Today’s game was a battle for the No. 7 seed.


This morning, I did my usual post-pitching workout: running, lifting and medicine ball. I also added a rowing exercise (one of the harder things I have ever done), changing my routine a bit for the possible Wednesday start. As usual, I was completely exhausted by game time.


Today we were honoring our three seniors: Worth Scott, Cesar Nicolas and Jon Douillard. Before the game, they were recognized on the field with their parents and other relatives.


As for the game, we once again scored early and often. Not quite as productive as last night, but enough to win. Leading 8-6 in the ninth inning, our reliever Jeff Sues got into some trouble. With only one out he yielded two singles. Runners were on first and second, and UK’s clean-up hitter Mike Breyman was coming to the plate. Corbin decided to bring in our closer Ryan Rote. After a few 95 MPH fastballs and 88 MPH sliders, Rote struck out Breyman and Jake Kungl. The rally was stopped, and we won 8-6.


Sunday, May 23


Before the game today, the eight teams in the tournament were determined. We were guaranteed a seventh seed, regardless of any of today’s outcomes. However, we were playing for another win, another sweep, to fill our resume for a Regional.


Although we started slow, finding ourselves quickly in a 4-0 hole, we finished strong. Starter Matt Buschmann battled for 6.1 innings, keeping us close. Finally, in the seventh and eighth innings, we totaled seven runs and went on to win 11-5.


Tonight we can relax, but it all starts up again tomorrow. On Monday, we head for Hoover, Ala., for the SEC tournament, leaving behind our home field and home crowd.


On Wednesday we play No. 2 seed Georgia at 1 p.m., the start of our postseason.


Although we swept them earlier, Georgia is a completely different team that is playing with tons of confidence. It will no doubt be a dogfight, but also lots of fun. We’re all looking forward to the opportunities the future will bring.


Jeremy Sowers


Previous Entries

Going a Little Extra in the Bayou (5/17/04)

Commodores Take Roadie from Rival (5/12/04)

Sweep Worth Lack of Sleep (5/5/04)

Goose Egg in Gainesville (4/28/04)

Hogs Go Wild, but Commodores' Goals Still Within Reach (4/20/04)

Trumping the Tide (4/13/04)

The Invasion of the Gamecocks (4/8/04)

Get Out the Brooms (3/30/04)

Three Tight Games, Three Tight Losses (3/23/04)

Rough Outing Eased by Series Win (3/16/04)

Sweep of the Bearcats (3/9/04)


(photo courtesy of Vanderbilt Media Relations Office)