Howie Hansen: East sophomore pitcher has a huge upside

Josh Gow, a sophomore pitcher-middle infielder at Duluth East, has been selected to compete in the USA Junior Olympic Baseball Championships on June 21-29 in Tucson, Ariz.

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Josh Gow, a sophomore pitcher-middle infielder at Duluth East, has been selected to compete in the USA Junior Olympic Baseball Championships on June 21-29 in Tucson, Ariz.
Gow, 15, was one of 30 players selected from a field of over 300 players who attended a Baseball Factory try-out camp in Chicago last summer. The 6-1, 180-pound former Lake Park star was nominated for the prestigious Midwest camp by his high school coach, John Rudolph. He'll play for Baseball Factory's Midwest team in the 12-club Junior Olympic tourney.
The USA Junior Olympic Baseball Championships is an Olympic Development Program launched in 1996 by USA Baseball in cooperation with the U.S. Olympic Committee. USA Baseball uses the tourney as an exclusive vehicle to select 36 players to participate in the USA Baseball Youth National Team (16-under) trials.
"My goal is to make the cut, the final 36," Gow said. "And my long-term goal is to play pro."
Baseball Factory was impressed with Josh's skills as a pitcher and a position player, Rudolph said.
"Josh has a major-league arm and is already throwing in the high 80's, possibly reaching 90," Rudolph said. "He's an elite athlete with excellent speed and has a good head for the game. He should be a top Division I prospect who pro scouts will be watching very closely, as he continues to gain more national exposure."
Gow was a dominant player in his age group at Lake Park Little League for several years -- often stepping up to compete against older players in advanced leagues -- and made the East junior varsity team as an 8th grader.
"Josh hasn't received very much varsity experience yet, because we have such a talented senior class, but we all realize his talent level," Rudolph said. "His dedication to the game is quite impressive. If he could throw 24 hours a day, he would. How committed is he to the game? After striking out a couple times in a junior varsity game last spring, he came to practice the following Monday with his hands all bloodied up. I asked him, 'Josh, what happened to your hands?' He said he was so frustrated from striking out two, three times that he spent the weekend hitting off a tee -- to the point that he blistered and bloodied his hands.
His intensity reminds me of that of Rick Rickert and Nick Licari, who set high standards for work ethic at our school. Josh would die for baseball.
"I think the world of Hibbing catcher Eli Tintor, who has college and pro scouts drooling, but I'd put Josh right up there with him. Eli's strength is controlling his pitchers and his bat, and Josh's contribution is on the mound and his leadership. The scouts will be all over Josh in the years ahead."
Between the Lines
East Duluth's traveling 7th-grade boy's basketball team won the Minnesota Youth Athletic Services State Class B title in St. Paul last weekend, defeating Eagan 58-55 in the championship game of the 16-team tournament.
East Duluth (28-10), which won all four of its games at state, got tourney tough by competing against traveling teams from northeastern Minnesota and northwestern Wisconsin in the Great Northwest League.
"This is the first time we've won state, after finishing second each of the last two years," East co-coach Dave Katoski said. "We have a little bit of size and quickness. It was a pretty exciting moment for the kids."
Guard Sean Mayberry, who led East Duluth in scoring at state, led a talented team that included guards Noah Pauley and Kelly Katoski, forwards B. J. Jasperson, Eric Johnson, Andy Kilpro and Ryan Shea and centers Ben Noreen and Andy Roberts. Doug Roberts, Mike Shea and Katoski shared the coaching duties.
Meanwhile, the Denfeld 7th-grade traveling team was 2-2 at the state Class C tournament last weekend in St. Paul, finishing its season 11-13.
"Our kids played their best ball of the season at state, gaining their goal to win at least one game after losing all three games at state a year ago," Denfeld coach Mike Gerber said.
Denfeld's roster included guards Steve Birman, Mike Gerber, Aaron Hoag and David Stratioti, forwards Mike Lewis, David Johnson, Cory Schleret, Pat Heaslip, Jeff Skinner and centers Matt Fournier and Trent Beise. Jeff Stratioti served as an assistant coach.
Howie Hanson writes a weekly sports column for Duluth Budgeteer News. He may be reached at 624-7495 or by e-mail at .

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