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Lowey relishes role on Myrtle Beach Pelicans

The opportunity Jason Lowey has received late this season by the Atlanta Braves isn't lost on the 25-year-old right-handed reliever.

It's the reason he has toiled in independent baseball leagues for more than three years, waiting for a major league baseball team to be impressed enough to sign him. That finally happened on Aug. 17, and Lowey has continued to impress the Braves since he joined Myrtle Beach that day to help the Pelicans make a push for the playoffs.

"He has a no-nonsense type of attitude," Pelicans pitching coach Kent Willis said. "He comes to the ballpark to do his job, knowing this is an opportunity he hasn't gotten. He's trying to take advantage of it."

In three appearances with the Pelicans, Lowey hasn't allowed a run in four innings, having surrendered just two hits and no walks with an impressive eight strikeouts. He has picked up a win in the process.

"I give kudos to our scouting department because I think they've found a steal," Willis said. "That says a lot about our scouting department, to go down and find a guy like this. They're not just lying around, and this kid's got some talent."

In his last outing, he helped the Pelicans win the opener of a three-game series with Salem on Tuesday by pitching two scoreless innings. Myrtle Beach was unable to close out the three-game sweep Thursday, falling 5-4 to drop a half-game behind the Red Sox and Kinston in the race for the second-half playoff berth in the Carolina League's Southern Division.

Lowey began his independent league stint in 2007 in the South Coast League in its only season of existence. He played from 2008-10 in the Frontier League, which has a player cap at 27 years old. After spending 2008 with the Windy City Thunderbolts of Chicago, he was traded to the River City Rascals of St. Louis and played there until he got a call from the Braves.

Lowey was a Braves fan growing up in the Florida Panhandle and he attended his first major league game in Atlanta, so the call from the Braves gave Lowey some extra satisfaction. "To have them call me and give me a chance was a dream come true," he said.

He played outfield and didn't pitch until his senior season at Mercer University in Macon, Ga., when he was told by his coaches he'd have to pitch to continue playing.

"Focusing on pitching-only got me a little better slowly," Lowey said. "A lot of pregame throwing and just messing with grips is kind of where it starts. Then you move it to the bullpen and when something works you try and duplicate it"

Lowey's fastball is consistently 90-92 mph and can hit 95 when he wants or needs it to. He also throws a changeup, curveball and cut fastball that can resemble a slider, and Willis said he has command of all his pitches.

"He's got an arsenal, and he's unpredictable because he will throw his secondary pitches in fastball counts," Willis said. "With the stuff that he has, he has an opportunity to pitch not only at this level, he's got an opportunity to pitch at the higher levels. Sometimes fate has a way of taking care of things."

The Pelicans are using Lowey in the late innings, and he often worked as a closer in the independent leagues.

"I think in this situation, with his tools, it wouldn't surprise me if he got some opportunities quicker than some other guys based on his age, and when you grade him out, his stuff grades out just as high as guys at the upper level," Willis said. "It will be interesting to see how he finishes the year and goes to spring training and challenges for certainly a high-A or double-A job next year."

In the Independent League, Lowey's salary was similar to that of many players in Class A, and he stayed with host families like a number of Pelicans players. The situation doesn't appear all that different, until you consider the opportunities.

"You don't have the upper level to get to there," Lowey said. "Everyone's fighting for a spot here to move on up. We've had players picked up in the past do real well so it's something to aspire to. Everyone wants to play for a major league team, so it's just getting your foot in the door. It's up to you on how well you do and how you move up from there."

Lowey wasn't called upon Thursday, but his pitching mates weren't responsible for the loss. Three Pelican errors allowed four unearned runs.

Salem broke a 3-all tie in the top of the eighth inning with a pair of unearned runs. Right fielder Luis Sumoza misplayed a single to allow a runner to score from first base, and catcher Matt Kennelly allowed the second run to score with a wild throw to third base in an attempt to get another baserunner.

An error by first baseman Mike Jones allowed two runs to score with two outs in the top of the fifth. Jones lunged to his left to field a ground ball by Adalberto Ibarra with the bases loaded, but his throw to pitcher Angelo Paulino covering first was low and wide.

The Pelicans loaded the bases with two outs in the ninth on a double by Sumoza and consecutive walks by Kennelly and Mycal Jones, and L.V. Ware was hit by a pitch to force a run in. But Gerry Rodriguez struck out to end the game.

SalemAB

R

H

BI

BB

SO

Avg.

Dent SS

5

1

1

0

0

1

0.225

Dening RF

3

1

1

0

1

1

0.279

Hassan LF

3

1

2

1

1

0

0.282

Tejeda 2B

3

0

1

0

1

1

0.306

Federowicz C

5

0

0

0

0

3

0.258

Ibarra DH

4

0

0

0

0

1

0.200

Hee 3B

3

0

0

0

0

2

0.254

Hedman 1B

3

1

0

0

0

0

0.220

Bermudez, Ro CF

3

1

1

0

1

0

0.206

Totals332

5

6

1

4

9

M. BeachAB

R

H

BI

BB

SO

Avg.

Jones, My SS

4

2

2

0

1

1

0.276

Ware CF

3

1

2

1

1

1

0.266

Rodriguez, G LF

4

0

0

2

0

2

0.244

Jones, Mi 1B

4

0

1

0

0

0

0.284

Sime 3B

4

0

0

0

0

3

0.256

Johnson, C DH

4

0

1

1

0

0

0.259

Kreke, J 2B

3

0

0

0

1

1

0.235

Sumoza RF

4

1

1

0

0

2

0.229

Kennelly, M C

3

0

0

0

1

1

0.221

Totals33

4

7

4

4

11

Salem

100

020

020

--

5

6

0

Myrtle Beach

100

002

001

--

4

7

3

E --Jones (6), Sumoza (5), (Kennelly (2). LOB--Salem 9, Myrtle Beach 8. 2B --Hassan (27), My. Jones (18), Sumoza (10). 3B--My. Jones (1).

Salem

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

ERA

Gonzales

5

2

1

1

1

7

3.88

Holliman (BS,1) (W,3-0)

3

4

2

2

1

3

3.38

Fernandes (S,11)

1

1

1

1

2

1

2.86

M. Beach

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

ERA

Rasmus

41/3

3

3

1

4

4

2.90

Paulino

2

1

0

0

0

1

2.71

Rodgers (L, 1-8)

2

2

2

0

0

2

4.84

Berryhill

2/3

0

0

0

0

2

9.28

HBP --Ware (by Fernandez), Hee (by Rasmus), Hassan (by Rasmus), Tejeda (by Paulino), Headman (by Rodgers). Umpires--Home, Gus Curtis; First, Shaun Lampe. T--2:57. A--3,298.

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