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Bowman signs with Surry Community

East Surry High School’s Luke Bowman officially signed his NJCAA National Letter of Intent and will continue his academic and baseball careers at Surry Community College.

“It means a lot to me to be able to play college baseball,” Bowman said. “This has been a dream ever since I’ve started playing. From playing little league to travel and throughout school ball, it has always been something I’ve wanted to do.”

Bowman helped East Surry continue its tradition of success during his two seasons with the varsity squad. The 2021 and 2022 Cardinals combined to win: two conference championships, one conference tournament championship (no tournament was held in 2021), one 1A West Regional Championship and one 1A State Runner-up trophy.

“He’s a phenomenal kid,” said East Surry coach Chad Freeman. “We all know he’s a great athlete and a great ballplayer, but he’s an even better person. He was a leader on the team that set the example by how hard he played, but could be vocal if he needed to. He’s also a really smart ballplayer.

“He will bring a lot to the Surry Community program and then to wherever he goes after.”

Part of the reason Bowman said he chose Surry Community College was because of the program’s success, making it an easy transition since he was coming from a successful high school program.

“I wanted to play at Surry because of the location and the reputation they have of always being good at baseball,” he said.

Bowman was planned to split time between varsity and JV his sophomore season at East before the season was cancelled. The following year, Luke came back and had an incredible season that helped earn him All-State honors.

Freeman said that Bowman is just as worthy of being named All-State as a senior if not more. The awards for the 2022 season have not been issued at the time of publication.

Offensively, Bowman finished his senior season by setting the East Surry school record with 46 runs scored. He had a .463 batting average, a .626 on-base percentage, 10 extra-base hits (seven doubles, two triples and one home run) and 20 RBIs.

Bowman also set the Cardinals’ record for career batting average at .448.

“Being able to play at East Surry with the people I grew up with was the best years of my life,” Bowman said. “There was never a dull moment in practice or games. All the coaches and every kid made it a very special place to be.”

In addition to his offensive contributions, Luke was a cornerstone of East Surry’s strong defense. He came into his junior season as the team’s starting catcher.

“He was just lights out behind the plate,” Freeman said. “He gets a lot of praise for his contributions on offense, but he had the same impact defensively. He had a tough job handling our pitches and made it look easy. Then this past year he only had two errors all season. That’s impressive when you play 26 games and handle the ball as much as he handles it.”

Bowman finished the 2022 season with a .992 fielding percentage, 228 put-outs and 22 assists.

“I have a ton of trust with Luke,” Freeman said. “I probably communicated with him more than any other player on the team because he’s involved in pretty much every play. We also talked a lot between innings, and he’d tell me different things he noticed and his thoughts on what we needed to do. It was like having another coach on the field.

“Obviously he was good, but he also made everybody else around him better. He really was a big part of our success this year.”

Bowman’s athleticism and baseball IQ made him a valuable asset to the Cardinals. While he specialized as the team’s catcher, he was also used as an outfielder. Freeman said that he believes Luke can be just as successful as an outfielder at the next level if his future coaches need him there.

Bowman also spent time on the mound for East Surry. When the Cards would play three games in a week, Freeman said he had total confidence in Bowman to throw a few innings. He even earned a win on the mound for East Surry as a senior.

Freeman said he had no doubts that Bowman would’ve played any position on the field if it meant helping the team succeed.

“He’s athletic enough that if I had even asked him to play middle infield he would have,” Freeman said. “He’s a tremendous athlete, an intelligent player and I can’t brag on him enough for how he helped our team be successful.”

Humbled to be signing his way to collegiate baseball, Bowman expressed gratitude to some of the people most responsible for helping him get to this point.

“I’d like to thank my parents and my grandparents more than anything,” Bowman said. “They always made sure I was at every practice and every game. I would also like to thank all the coaches; I wouldn’t be where I am today without them.

“I’m just ready to continue playing baseball at the next level. I think it will be very fun, especially with “Double A” Anthony Ayers also coming to play with me.“

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