Senior Spotlight: Brady McDowell

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McDowell still inspired by lessons from his late grandfather

By Andrew Harner

BROWNSTOWN – Running around his grandparents’ living room after hitting imaginary home runs some 15 years ago was just a preview of what was in store for Brady McDowell’s life.


The Brownstown senior hasn’t stopped hustling since, and now pays tribute to his late grandpa, Dale McDowell, every time he cranks one out of the park.

There was always a wiffle ball in a vase at grandpa’s house, McDowell remembered, but little did he know that the make-believe games from his childhood would become his reality.

“I’d swing at the wiffle ball and run around the living room yelling, ‘Home run!’” McDowell said. “We even redid the house once, and Grandpa took out a wall, so I could run around a section of the house instead of the living room.”

McDowell has hit three home runs this season (one in the fall and two so far this spring), and while his large build has something to do with that, without the inspiration of playing each game in honor of his grandpa, he wouldn’t be the player he is today.

“I play every single game for him,” McDowell said. “I know he’s looking down and smiling.”

McDowell never wants to be outhustled on the field – be it in the batter’s box, on the bases or on defense – and the number of times that it has happened probably could be counted on one hand.

One of the finest examples came during last season’s regional tournament, when McDowell tried to climb the extended backstop in Kinmundy to catch a foul ball that had sailed well out of play.

“Brady would run through the fence for us if we needed him to,” said Bombers coach Ken Milano. “We often say we wish we could put Brady’s head on other player’s bodies, because we like his mind, hustle and attitude.”

So where does such an all-out attitude come from?

“When I was little, my father always taught me that in all sports, it’s 20 percent physical, 80 percent mental,” he said. “That’s all it is, and I’ve always used that as motivation.”

And all the hustling has led to McDowell becoming one of the better players in the area.

He’s a natural first baseman, but he also spends time on the pitcher’s mound and at third base, a position where he isn’t exactly a prototype.

“Brady gets the most out of his ability,” said Patoka coach Joey Eddy. “He’s not a third baseman, but he plays there because it makes the team better.”

McDowell said he would play any position on the field if it meant helping the team get a win.

“The teams needs me (at third),” he said. “It’s not about where you think you should be playing, it’s about where the other eight guys and coach need you.

“You go out and work the hardest at whatever position you’re at.”

He hopes he can instill that mindset in the younger players that make up the majority of Brownstown’s roster, so that when he is gone, someone else can step into his role.

His role of leader, anyway.

It’ll be pretty hard for someone to overtake McDowell’s fun-loving personality and practical joking.

McDowell once brought a fake blood packet to practice and poured it on his face after running into a teammate. Every day during his freshman and junior years, he helped hide a teacher’s stool somewhere in the school. At every game for the past four years, he’s probably cracked at least joke at some point.

And it's no surprise where he learned to laugh

“My grandma says now that I get my sense of humor from my grandpa,” he said. “I learned everything from Grandpa. He was always smiling.

“He was such a great man.”