HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - Bryant Bowen was frustrated.
Sixteen games in, he had seen the batter’s box 22 times and generated just six hits.
The frustration mounted in March 16th’s contest at Louisiana Tech when Bowen went 0-for-3 and was benched.
“I thought, ‘Maybe I’m not good enough at this point,’” Bowen said. “‘Do I still belong here?’”
“I had pulled him and he being the competitor he was, he didn’t like that too well,” said USM head coach Scott Berry. “He didn’t show it to me but I could hear it down in the tunnel. The next day after breakfast, I pulled him over and we talked like grown men. [I] said, ‘You need to step up and produce.’”
“I told myself right after that conversation, this is my opportunity to never look back,” Bowen said.
“He answered and never has looked back,” Berry said.
Bowen went 3-for-3 with 5 runs-batted-in in the series finale at Louisiana Tech. He has since produced a 22-game hitting streak – the 8th-longest in school history – and leads the team with a .340 batting average.
“[He] really carried us for quite a while, if you want to know the truth,” Berry said. “And of course, some other guys started getting hot. For a while, we jumped on Bowen’s back and rode him.”
The junior’s 49 RBIs and 11 home runs helped him earn second team All-Conference USA honors.
More significant to Bowen than the individual accolade, he’s found a way to help the Golden Eagles win and learned a lot about himself along the way.
“I’ve learned to deal with failure with [designated hitting] because when you catch and hit, you can forget about at-bats and go work with the pitcher,” Bowen said. “Being a DH, sometimes it’ll linger around with you when you miss an opportunity and you’re pacing up and down the dugout. It’s really been a great experience. I think just outside of baseball, I’ve learned a lot about life and just being resilient. That’s been my word of the year, I have it typed up on my phone – just be resilient.”