Josh Dowdy: Aberdeen's New Fireballer

After being taken in the 38th round by the O's this year, Josh Dowdy has already earned a promotion in the minors, going from Bluefield to Aberdeen on July 21st. Will his success continue with the IronBirds? Inside meet the newest reliever for Aberdeen.

Baseball crowds at Appalachian State and Bluefield normally range in the hundreds. For Josh Dowdy, who was used to low crowds, coming in front of over six thousand people in Aberdeen was a big change to him. But despite this change, Dowdy's pitching was on target, earning a win in his first appearance with the Ironbirds in a 5-4 comeback victory on Thursday.

"I'd be lying to you if I told you I didn't look up at the stands and see all the people, cause it's a wild scene, and it really helps to get you motivated on a day that you are not sure you're going to pitch, but you come into the game, you see the lights, the people, you hear the crowd, and it really gets you going," said Dowdy after the game.

He threw two shutout innings, allowing just one hit and striking out two with no walks to end the game. He came in to hold a 4-3 deficit, and got the win defending the ninth after the IronBirds scored two in the bottom of the eighth to go ahead for good.

Listed at 5-11, you would not think his primary pitch would be a 4-seam fastball that reaches 94 m.p.h., but it is. It normally rests at 90-92. He also brings a changeup, slider and sinker to compliment the heater. Manager Gary Kendall believes his hard sinker will make him successful.

On July 21st, Dowdy got transferred to Aberdeen from Bluefield. In the rookie league, Dowdy proved to be a solid reliever. In nine appearances in relief, he allowed just two earned runs in 16.2 innings, good for a 1.13 ERA. He finished with a 2-0 record and three saves, striking out 20 and walking just three.

Dowdy signed after getting drafted in the 38th round by the Orioles in the 2009 MLB First-Year Player Draft. He spent four years in college play, the first two at East Carolina and the final two with Appalachian State. He was primarily used as a starter, going 6-3 with a 5.07 ERA and a 68-19 K-BB ratio in 76.1 innings pitched in his senior season, even having a two month stretch without a loss. But since signing with the Orioles, he has gone straight to the bullpen.

"I've been a starter my whole career, so sometimes down in the bullpen, your mind gets to wander, and you have to get back in the zone and back to focusing," Dowdy said. "That's the #1 thing I'm trying to work on."

Catcher Justin Dalles, the Orioles 6th Round Pick this year, had never caught Dowdy before Thursday, but thought he had a lot to bring to the table.

"He has a live arm, he has good stuff, he can locate all his pitches," Dalles told ITO. "I hadn't even caught him in the bullpen, but he has some electric stuff and he could be a good one for us"

Kendall was happy with Dowdy's pitching tonight, which helped get Aberdeen their third win in four games.

"He's a strike thrower and sinks the ball; he made some good offspeed pitches," says Kendall, "He's got from what I take a real good makeup to pitch and he believes in himself."

Dowdy is not the only IronBird from Appalachian State. Also on the team is outfielder Jason Rook, his teammate in 2008 and 12th Round Pick last year. Six other players from Appalachian State have been drafted the last two years after having none since 1996.

Note:

--This was the first time this season the Ironbirds won when trailing after seven innings. They were 0-17 before Thursday.


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