Falmouth High School Baseball
Catching Up with Oberlin's Connor MacDowell
by Falmouth Baseball on March 7th, 2016

​What was the process of being recruited to Oberlin?
After my sophomore year, I went down to Long Island for a Headfirst Honor Roll showcase to get a feel of the showcase atmosphere. I knew going into the process that I wouldn’t likely be playing in Division 1, which was important to know going in because it gave me a realistic perspective on schools where I could see myself playing.

The coaches that attend Headfirst are all from good academic schools. That was the most important aspect for me. Baseball is never a guarantee but education is. When all else fails, the school will still be there. Before heading down to the showcase, I did some preliminary research on the schools that would be there to see which ones I may be interested in. Once the showcase began, I was only worried about playing my game. You can’t be focused on trying to impress the 65+ coaches in attendance. Play hard and somebody will see something in your game that they like. Headfirst was great because they encourage players to talk to coaches to show potential interest in their school or to get feedback on what they think a player can improve on in their game. Attending this showcase taught me a lot about the recruiting process and about what coaches are looking for in potential prospects. I got a lot of feedback on what I needed improve on. I wasn’t so much worried about being recruited at this point as much as I wanted to improve. You can never get enough advice, especially from college coaches.

I knew that the summer after junior year is the biggest in recruiting for division 3 schools, so I knew that I had time to continue to improve before getting more chances at future showcases. The following January, I got an email from a few schools, Oberlin being one of them. The emails basically introduced me to their respective schools and programs and told me of their interest in me as a potential prospect. I put together a recruiting video and sent it along with many emails to coaches that I knew would be at Headfirst that following summer to further open my options. After my junior season, I went to a top 96 showcase in Hartford where I drew interest from some small New England schools before heading back to Headfirst for the second time. I stayed in close contact with all of the schools showing interest in me.

Keeping your options open is important at this time in the process because you never know if things will fall through at one school. If you blow off other coaches completely, you’re putting all of your eggs in one basket that isn’t guaranteed to work out, especially at the division 3 level. Nothing is guaranteed. Coach Abrahamowicz and Coach Brua from Oberlin particularly stuck out from the other coaches recruiting me. They would continuously check in with me via email or phone call telling me that they were looking forward to meeting me and seeing me play again at Headfirst. They were both really good guys, which isn’t always the case in college coaches. Once I got down to Headfirst after my junior year, I made a point to find Coach A and Coach Brua to introduce myself in-person and to talk baseball with them. They’re both approachable guys and are really easy to talk to. A few of the Oberlin coaches sat through my next game and told me they liked what they saw. The rest was history from that point.

Once I had all of my offers in, I sat down with my parents and discussed them. In the end, Oberlin was the school showing the most interest in me and was also the best academic school that I could play baseball at. If baseball doesn’t work out for any reason, I feel good knowing that I am at a place where I am still receiving the best education that I could possibly receive. My parents and I headed out to Oberlin, Ohio for my visit on campus. For those of you who don’t know, Oberlin is a very progressive campus. I didn’t really know what to expect. I met with all of the coaches who showed me around. I felt very welcomed. All of the players on the team welcomed me and made me feel like one of them for the night that I spent there. I knew then that Oberlin was the right fit for me.

My next worry was on the admissions process. Coach A and Coach Brua told me that they would be able to push my grades through the Early Decision admission process. I probably wouldn’t have been admitted Oberlin without the push that baseball gave me. I’ll be honest I was nervous. A week later, they gave me the OK that my stuff was all set with admissions. Baseball is a great tool to get you into schools that you may have otherwise not have gotten into. With that being said, I worked hard in High School to get the grades that I did. At the end of the day, a player’s grades are the most important. Baseball skill alone doesn’t get you into a school.

How has it been to be a student-athlete at Oberlin?
Being a student-athlete at Oberlin has been great. It didn’t take me long to learn how to manage my time between schoolwork, lifts, and practices, which is probably the biggest change between high school and college. Our coaches stress performance on the field as well as in the classroom, so as an athlete you have to excel at both. The work hasn’t been as overwhelming as I expected it to be, which has been a pleasant surprise. Our weekly schedule is usually pretty packed with three team lifts per week, daily practices, and games every weekend in the spring. You really do have to love the game of baseball to get by. We have been blessed as a team to have coaches that have such a deep knowledge for the game. All five have experienced some level of college or professional baseball. In my short time here I have learned and improved the most as a player than I have before. If something isn’t going right in your game, odds are one of the coaches has an answer to your problem. Even off the field if there is an issue, our coaches have an open door policy where we can just go in and talk to them about anything whether it has to do with baseball or not. It’s great working with those guys.

What’s it like to go from a senior in high school to a freshman on a team? Is there a change or difference?
The transition is a reality check if anything. Going from senior year where I knew everything that there was to the baseball program at Falmouth to taking on freshmen duties at a seemingly foreign program makes you appreciate experience. There is so much to learn about how the coaches here run their program that it takes a while to adjust. Things like bunt defenses, pitch theories, and plate approaches are all things that took me a couple of weeks to figure out. I’m still learning new things everyday. Socially, we don’t have much of hierarchy here like we did in high school. Freshmen are treated with the same respect as upperclassmen are. However, at the end of the day we are still the “squids” of the squad. We have to clean up after practices, carry balls and tees inside, move screens around, stuff that all freshmen have to do. What did you major in and why? I’m looking into majoring in Economics. Both of my parents and my brother, Matt, have been in the business sector for their whole lives and is something that really interests me. I don’t see myself doing anything else after college. Being at a Liberal Arts college allows me to expand my horizons and learn about various different subjects while focusing on Economics. I feel like I am learning a lot about various aspects of the world and not being restricted to one subject as I would otherwise.
​Any advice for those who want to follow in your footsteps? 
Keep your grades up in the classroom. If you don’t have the grades, you are restricting yourself from schools that can recruit you. On the field, always respect the game and play every day like it’s your last. Baseball isn’t ever a guarantee, especially after high school. Trust the process. If you are working hard to be your best every single day, you will get better. Recruiting wise, get your name out there. Coaches usually don’t just find you. Go to showcases, send out emails and recruiting videos to get your name out there. Local coaches will go to high school games on occasion. You never know who is watching you. Play hard but most importantly have fun.

Looking back at FHS baseball, what are some of your favorite moments?
Some of my favorites would have to be winning the state championship my freshman year, our annual Rhode Island trips for Legion, pre-season games in the Arctic cold, playoff games, and team dinners (the few that we had). Honestly I just loved going out to the field everyday and being around the guys. I’m definitely going to miss playing with those guys and rocking the blue and gold.

You have what so many baseball players dream of doing. Do you realize that? What do you do to be your best each day? 
Being uncertain about whether or not I was going to play college baseball definitely makes me appreciate playing every day. I’m blessed that everything worked out the way that it did. In college ball you are evaluated every single day. You can’t expect to win a spot on the team if you aren’t playing your best, especially with the depth that we have in our roster. Everything is in the best interest of the team and what it can do to win. If somebody is outplaying you in practice, those are the guys that are going to see the field during games. As a freshman catcher I am picking at the brains of our two senior catchers that have been starters for their four years here. I’m trying to learn as much as I can from those guys and from all of our coaching staff. The resources are there for me to be a better baseball player and I just try to utilize those every day.

Posted in alumni, Connor MacDowell, Oberlin, Recruiting    Tagged with connor macdowell, Oberlin, catcher, baseball, Falmouth Baseball, alumi, College Baseball News, Headfirst, Baseball camps


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