Owens Signs for BC Baseball
Strength can be measured in the weight room. Some scholars measure up to strong academic standards. Some individuals draw strength from their faith.
July 11, 2010
Owens with Head Baseball Coach Mike White signs letter to play on the BC Rams Baseball Team.
PRINCETON — Strength can be measured in the weight room. Some scholars measure up to strong academic standards. Some individuals draw strength from their faith.
From all indications at Princeton Senior High School on Wednesday morning, Steven Owens is measuring up in all three.
Owens, an outfielder for the Tigers, hopes to grow in all those areas as a baseball player and student-athlete at Bluefield College. He signed paperwork committing to the Rams in the PSHS media center, flanked by family and coaches.
Owens said, "I've always wanted to play ball past the high school level, and now I have that opportunity — and I want to make the most of the opportunity.
"I want to put my skill to a level that it's never been before, to make every moment that I have with Bluefield College on the baseball team, a memorable moment, and a learning moment."
"I want to keep learning, keep working hard, to be the best I can be."
Mike White, coach of the Rams, said he first scouted Owens at the Coppinger Invitational baseball tournament this April, and noted he was "athletic" and had "a college build about him."
"He's in good physical shape. He runs well," White said. "One of the things we really look for is guys of high character ... the blue-collar kid who'll outwork (others)."
Rams assistant coach Danny Flores had been considering Owens even prior to the Coppinger, and put him through a workout at Bowen Field.
"He showed off his speed and his ability to track balls in the outfield," Flores said Wednesday. "He has a phenomenal capability to make those catches."
Owens said, "I wanted to do my best. I wanted to show them that I did have the talent to play. I just enjoyed going out there ... ."
Flores added, "He's also really a great person off the field. He's active in his church, and with a Christian school that fits in perfectly. He's a hard worker. His attitude is great. And it's not all about athletics. It's about academics. That's what we look for first."
Owens' father Don Owens said, "Bluefield College is a small college, but it's well-renowned. It's got an excellent baseball program, excellent academics from what I've researched and found out."
"Anytime you can go off to college and play a sport, and get a scholarship for it, it's a plus. Higher education opportunities are expensive, now."
Steven's mother Sabrina Owens-Pennington said the path leading to his college commitment "has been a journey." She said Steven has been chosen for a merit scholarship, and scholarships from the Wolfe Foundation and Bowen Foundation.
The baseball scholarship was "something else to knock that tuition down," she said. She recalled that when she got a cell phone call confirming the financial award, she began to cry. "It was overwhelming, that God was opening doors," she said.
She talked about touring Bluefield College. "The atmosphere at this college is wonderful," she said.
Princeton head baseball coach Josh Wilburn said, "Steven's a wonderful young man, probably the most unselfish young man I've ever coached. It showed on and off the field.
"On the field, he sacrificed Sean Williams over a lot, and never questioned what I asked him to do. Anytime I pulled him out of the game, he was excited to let the other players play behind him. And off the field, he's very strong in his faith ... ."
It didn't take long for Wilburn to assess Owens' skills when he became the Princeton baseball coach this year.
"Being a first-year coach, I was coming in not knowing what (talent) I had," Wilburn said. "Steven's got a nice frame for an athlete; he's very muscular. He looked like an athlete, but I didn't know exactly what he could do.
"But the first thing that stuck out was, he was very fast. He stole bases for us. Then I found out he could bunt the ball, very well, and he had some timely hits. ... His speed paid off in the outfield. He made some really good plays. He was a big part of our success this year."
Princeton's run through the sectional and regional baseball championships, and the resulting berth to play in the state tournament after a 6-16 season in 2009, helped Owens as well.
"It boosts my confidence a hundred-fold," he said. "It has helped me to realize I'm able to be on a winning team — and that, without a team, you can't do anything. I'm more willing to ... help out my teammates, willing to make sacrifices for my teammates. It's helped me to have confidence in myself, that I can play as well as other players."
Owens said, "I've always loved baseball, ever since I was about 3 years old. (I was) outside in the back yard with my pastor's wife, and a little orange bat and a ball, and I hit it over her head a dozen times.
"Ever since I've been able to remember, I've always loved baseball. It's always been my forte. ... God comes first, (then) my family, then baseball."
Don Owens said, "He's played since T-ball. His heart and passion has always been baseball ... and it shows. With the success that he's had this year, and the run they made, it's really energized him a lot."
Courtesy of Tom Bone- Bluefield Daily Telegraph