He's been an important four-year contributor to the Pittsburg High baseball program.
Not in batting average, home runs, RBI or any hitting, pitching and defensive statistical category.
Until this week, he never recorded a hit at the varsity level and in fact, received limited playing time. His value transcends numbers and every team includes players like him who do not make the papers or the evening news.
In a time when certain players quit over playing time or transfer to another school or give up their sport or lash out at everybody in the world or cry and whine about not being a superstar, Pittsburg senior Evan Owen provides an example of a team player, somebody who simply enjoys playing baseball and being part of the guys.
Pittsburg head coach Keith Matlock talked about Owen on Senior Night.
"You can't find a better teammate than Evan Owen," Matlock said. "He comes to practice hard every day and he's great with the guys in the dugout. He's just what we want Pittsburg baseball to be, a kid who's been here for four years, worked hard and got some time this year and took advantage of it."
If you've attended Pittsburg games the past couple seasons, you've seen Owen. He'd catch for pitchers between innings whenever Dylan Gromer, for example, would be putting back on his catcher's gear after taking his turn at-bat. He played on the JV team. His cheering section dedicated at every game at JayCee Ballpark. You may have seen him with other Pittsburg and St. Mary's Colgan players instructing the J.L. Hutchinson League kiddos on the fundamentals of the game or being an umpire at youth baseball games.
In only his second at-bat of the season this past Monday against Carl Junction, Owen pinch hit in the bottom of the sixth with Pittsburg ahead 12-4 and the bases loaded. The stage was set for a shining moment.
Owen delivered a walk-off two-run run-rule single and was mobbed by his teammates as the conquering hero.
"It was only my second at-bat of the season," Owen told Michael Bauer. "Last time, I struck out and I didn't want to do that again so I was looking for a pitch that I could drive and thankfully, I did."
"It was awesome," Matlock said. "We've been looking to give Evan some time. We know he comes to practice and he works hard every day and it paid off for him. He got to get into that situation and get a big hit and a game winner."
Owen started in the first game of the Senior Night doubleheader against Independence and came in late in the second game.
Page 2 of 2 - Wednesday night’s alright for sports
On a bit of a rarity for high school sports, Pittsburg baseball and softball, as well as Southeast softball, played on Wednesday, a day more traditionally reserved for college athletics.
Pittsburg moved its Senior Night festivities a day ahead and then two hours earlier than a traditional 4:30 p.m. start, just to beat the anticipated then arrived ugly weather.
Despite being swept at JayCee Ballpark, Pittsburg did offer a few highlights: senior Tanner Ellis hit safely in both games to extend his hitting streak to 10 and senior Spencer Bernhardt smashed a triple and a home run in his last home game.
Over at Cheryl Stice Park, Shelby Corn of Independence played spoiler against Pittsburg in the Bulldogs’ sweep. She bashed a three-run home run in the opener and went 3-for-4 in the nightcap with a homer and two RBI.
The Southeast Lancers improved to 10-4 on the season with a 8-5 victory over the Baxter Springs Lions in 12 innings, completing a doubleheader which started earlier, much earlier in the season like Apr. 1.
After four innings of no score in extras, Southeast pushed four runs across in the 12th and held Baxter Springs to one for the win.
Southeast junior catcher Amy Martin recorded five hits, including a double and a home run, and drove in three. She fell one triple away from the cycle. Sophomore pitcher Olivia Powell also drove in three runs; Powell and Kalee Ewbank doubled.
Baxter Springs received most of its offense from starting pitcher Taylor Frazier, who hit a pair of home runs, a double, and drove in four runs.
The Twitter feed of St. Mary’s Colgan may sum up the mood of the moment: “JV Softball @ Girard today has been postponed due to extreme hot and dry conditions.”
Nothing like sarcasm from an athletic director.
The spring only continues what has been one of the weirdest, wildest years for weather anybody can remember. Who plays a high school baseball doubleheader in a downpour of sleet? Pittsburg and Girard did at JayCee.
The Girard softball team went on a four-game hitting tear in games against Southeast and Fort Scott this week, teams with a combined record of 21-7.
The Trojans scored 53 runs on 41 hits over a 3-1 stretch: 14-6 and 15-0 wins over Southeast and a 17-0 win over Fort Scott in a split. This four game span averages out to over 13 runs and over 10 hits per contest.
Girard and Colgan are scheduled to play a Crawford-Neosho-Cherokee League doubleheader today in Pittsburg, weather permitting.