Former Appalachian State baseball players gear up for spring training in major leagues

Andrew Clausen

Two former Appalachian State University baseball players are readying themselves for perhaps the most important preseason of their career.

Spring training is the time of year where both young players and veterans begin their training for the major league season.

For Justin Arrowood and Jeremy Dowdy, it’s a culmination of their life’s work.

“Entering college I had [going pro] as a goal of mine,” Dowdy said. “Obviously, your first goal is to get on the field and start. After awhile I got some interest from scouts. I wasn’t going to stop until I achieved that goal.”

Both players were a part of the 2012 Southern Conference championship team and are in the top 10 in several categories.

“It’s always been a dream, but these past few years I’ve performed pretty well against some of the higher level teams,” Arrowood said. “It’s been a real blessing to do.”

Dowdy appeared in 203 career games, six shy of David Towarnicky’s record of 209 (2007-10). He had 732 career at-bats, 43 doubles and is in the top 10 for RBIs as well.

Arrowood holds the record for most career victories at ASU with 28, holds the record for most strikeouts with 252 and finished with 52 starts, four shy of Matt Andress’ record of 56 (2007-10). He also finished in the top 10 in innings pitched with 298.2.

While their accomplishments are numerous, they both admit that the majors are completely different.

“There’s a few differences that you don’t realize until you’re there,” Dowdy said. “When [you are] in college, you have so many people along with you, pushing you, but in the pros, it’s up to you to get your work done. It’s about how bad you want it. It makes you realize how driven you are. Overall, the preparation for this season is the biggest difference.”

Arrowood agreed that the length of the season, which was more than twice as long as usual, was a big part of his preparation.

“The mindset of playing 140 games compared to 60 games in college, just getting ready for the long run, is important,” Arrowood said.

For Arrowood, spring training begins March 1, while Dowdy’s begins March 3.

Arrowood said he was excited just to see where he ended up.

“It’s exciting to see where they put me, and I’ll be as good as I can be,” he said.

Dowdy said that his advice for aspiring major leaguers is to just simply “enjoy the game.”

“I think even in pro ball you see guys who lose interest,” Dowdy said. “Baseball is a tough game to play mentally. You really have to enjoy playing it, and you set that goal to play pro and you always have that goal in sight.”

Story: ANDREW CLAUSEN, Sports Editor