University Heights Academy's Drew McGowan will be an outfielder when he gets to Mississippi State next season but the Blazer star only logged one game in the outfield during his senior season.

McGowan mostly played catcher and pitched for the Blazers, two positions he probably won't play in college. McGowan was also a shortstop a year ago.

The two-sport athlete has done everything he could for the Blazers on the court and the field, but that's because green and yellow run through his veins.

It's McGowan's dedication to his craft and his school that makes him this year's Toyota of Hopkinsville Southern Pennyrile Baseball Athlete of the Year.

"It's hard to put into words because it's meant so much," he said of what UHA means. "When my brother played here, I'd come to the games, I'd always want to be the bat boy. I was that little kid. I couldn't wait to finally be old enough to where I could play... I guess when I was younger I didn't realize that playing here, it's just like going to school here. You become brothers with the kids you play.

"For a small school, we're one of those schools that has to grind out with everything that we can get. It teaches us to appreciate everything. Our coaches always put in the time, more time than a lot of them should be able to. Our coaches don't have the luxury of public school coaches where they work at the school, our coaches have other jobs too so we appreciate them taking their time out of their day to make sure we have the best that we can get. It just means a lot to be able to say I played here and played for such a great program that has to say we fight for everything we get, nothing is handed to us."

McGowan said since he was little, his parents raised him to do whatever someone needed of him.

He said that's the reason he was behind the plate this season and why he gave it his all on the basketball court every game.

"A lot of kids want to play shortstop growing up, but you can't have nine shortstops," he said. "You've got to play wherever they tell you to play. It's kind of something I've taken advantage of with the athleticism I've learned from basketball. I've kind of translated it to baseball and been able to play everywhere, try to play it the best I can and help the team."

McGowan's final game as a Blazer came in the 8th District tournament semifinals in a loss to Hopkinsville on his home field.

For some athletes, it doesn't hit them until later that their high school career was over, but for McGowan, he knew that night.

"It's definitely hit me," he said. "When we first lost, I kind of realized that I'd never be out here, I'd never play for coach (Chris) Hamby, never be on the field with my dad again … it hit me a little that night I wouldn't be with all the boys again. But I guess the thing that kind of overlooks that is that I still have a future ahead in baseball. It definitely hurt to end my chapter here, but I'm excited about the next one."

While his prep career is done, he still gets to play in front of the Hopkinsville faithful for a few more weeks as a member of the Hoptown Hoppers.

McGowan admitted he was hesitant at first, but is glad he decided to play for his hometown team before he heads to Starkville.

"I've actually enjoyed it," he said. "Going into the summer, I was kind of skeptical about how I'd feel about it, but I've had a really good time. I've grown really close with a lot of the boys on the team. The fans have been great. It's kind of cool to look up there and see that even though I have a different jersey on my chest and playing at a different field, it's still cool to see the same people up there."

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