Logan Brazell set playing college baseball as a goal when he was in the ninth-grade and he never wavered. Jeremiah Bowman wasn’t as sure as his Bryan County High School running mate but when the opportunity came up he jumped at it.
The two, opponents as youngsters growing up in Pembroke but teammates since middle school, signed letters of intent Wednesday afternoon to continue their baseball careers at East Georgia State College. Brazell is the Redskins’ top pitcher and plays shortstop when not pitching. Bowman, who played the outfield and third base when he started playing, has been Bryan County’s starting third baseman the last three years.
“When I was in the ninth-grade I knew I wanted to go to college to play baseball,” said Brazell who began pitching as an 11-year-old. “It’s always been a dream to go on to the next level.
“As a 10th-grader I really jumped on it and then as an 11th-grader I went hard busting it to get noticed.”
While Brazell had committed to East Georgia several weeks ago it was only within the last month Bowman got involved with the Bobcats and he credited Coach Justin Covington and Brazell for helping him get the chance.
“Coach Covington had been after Coach (Eric) Mc- Combie to come down and see us play,” Bowman said. “He finally came and then about 30 days ago he called me and made an offer.
“I think he had some guys back out and he had some openings,” Bowman said. “He called Logan and asked him, ‘How good is this Bowman kid?’” Whatever Bowman told the Bobcats coach was obviously good because the two are now headed to the two-year Swainsboro school.
East Georgia, which has satellite campuses in Statesboro and Augusta, has approximately 3,200 students and a 386-acre main campus.
It was the size of the school, town and the campus that sold Brazell and Bowman this was the right choice for them.
“The campus is beautiful,” Brazell said. “You can walk around and not feel overwhelmed. That’s probably the thing I liked most about it. Coming from a small high school it felt like a good fit.”
Bowman echoed his teammate’s thoughts when he spoke about becoming a Bobcat.
“I liked everything about it,” Bowman said. “I like the coach, the campus and the town which reminded me a lot of Pembroke. It’s not that far from home.” The two showed they were worthy with an outstanding game on Tuesday night as they led the Redskins to a 4-3 win over visiting Emanuel County Institute in an important Region 3-A game.
Bowman hit a three-run homer, his first of the season, in the first inning and Brazell gave up two earned runs and five hits while striking out seven batters to get the win. Tanner Ellis went the final two innings to get the save.
Bowman is now hitting .327 with 16 RBI on 17 hits. Brazell has three wins with a 3.25 ERA and has 47 strikeouts in 28 innings.
Sophomore Konnor Leggett leads the team in hitting at .483 with 28 RBI. He has now hit in 18 straight games dating back to last season following his first inning single.
The win over the Bulldogs kept Bryan County (10-6, 3-2) in a five-way tie for second-place. A loss would have seen them drop to seventh-place. The top four teams will advance to the state playoffs.
“This was a huge win,” Covington said. “We had to have it or the season would have all been over as far as the playoffs were concerned.”
While it was a big day for the two players to sign with the Bobcats it was also a fulfilling event for Covington who coached the two in middle school.
“I’ve always loved them,” the second-year coach said. “They have a special place in my heart. I told them in middle school they had a chance to go somewhere.
“They’ve both got great work ethics and to see it come to fruition is awesome. Logan is an absolute fighter and Jeremiah would run through a brick wall if you asked him.”
ECI and Bryan County will meet again at 5:30 p.m. Friday at ECI. Metter (8-6, 4-1) leads the region race.